Young cop cleared of sexual violation charges

By Abby Gillies

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A young police officer has been cleared of sexual violation for the second time but still faces an investigation by his bosses.

Constable Ethan James Brown, 22, thumped the dock in delight and his mother wept as the jury delivered its not guilty verdict at Auckland District Court today.

The charge related to an alleged incident with a 20-year-old woman Mr Brown had been friends with since school, in which she said he held her down and sexually violated her at her home in late January 2010.

Mr Brown maintained the incident never occurred.

Speaking after the verdict, the woman said the outcome was still sinking in.

"Disappointing I guess is the only word I can think of,'' she said.

"I'm hoping with this that since I've been able to talk about it I can get past it but for me it was broken trust really."

It was the second trial for Mr Brown on sex charges in a month. In August he was found not guilty by a jury of sex charges relating to another woman.

In the latest case, the court was told the pair had met at high school and before the alleged incident, had consensual sex while on an outing to Piha. Afterwards they stayed friends but the woman rebuffed Mr Brown's ongoing sexual advances.

The woman told the court Mr Brown was at her home with two other friends in late January 2010. When the other friends left, he stayed on and then overpowered her in a sexual assault.

The woman made a complaint to police just over a year after she said it happened.

Defence lawyer Todd Simmonds described the woman as a chameleon because of her changeable behaviour and said several aspects of her evidence "did not stack up".

Last month Mr Brown was found not guilty of four charges, one charge of sexual violation, one of attempted sexual violation and two of indecent assault, against an 18-year-old woman he met on Facebook.

The charges related to an alleged incident on September 25, 2010, eight months after she said they had consensual sex, during which the woman went to Mr Brown's house because she needed somewhere to stay.

He said the incident never happened.

Outside court today, Mr Brown, who was accompanied by his mother, declined to comment.

Counties Manukau District Commander Superintendent John Tims said the jury's decision was accepted.

"A full and thorough investigation into the allegations was conducted and the best evidence available was put before the court," he said in a statement.

"Constable Brown will be subject to an employment investigation which will determine his future status. Police cannot comment further on specifics as this is a confidential process between the employer and employee."

- APNZ

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