Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Witnesses claim they had no concern over prominent New Zealander's conduct

The girls' names and ages are suppressed, as is the location of the alleged offending. Photo / File
The girls' names and ages are suppressed, as is the location of the alleged offending. Photo / File

• Two girls say they were indecently touched by a prominent Kiwi
• One says she told an adult about the alleged offending but the woman denied that under oath today
• The man says the girls are liars and that none of the massages he gave them were inappropriate
• Defence witnesses say they never saw anything that concerned them in the man's behaviour

The week began with a jury being told a prominent New Zealander inappropriately touched two girls in a "sneaky" way, under the guise of massage.

It ended today with those who knew the man defending him.

They never saw anything in his conduct to concern them, they said, and he "categorically" denied the accusations under rigorous cross-examination yesterday.

The man, whose name is suppressed, is on trial before the High Court at Whangarei after pleading not guilty to 12 counts of doing an indecent act on two girls, including allegations of touching their breasts, buttocks, groin and thighs.

Broad suppression orders also cover the identity of the complainants and the location of the alleged offending.

In a police interview, the younger complainant described several examples where the man allegedly groped her under the pretence of a massage.

She told investigators the man touched her bum "quite a lot", her upper thigh twice and her breasts about three times.

On one occasion she feared he would rape her, the girl said.

"I asked for a back massage and then he started rubbing down by my bum and I felt like scared because I didn't ask him to rub down there," she said.

On another occasion, she said, the man put his hands under her clothes, near her genitalia.

She was so uncomfortable, she told the court, that she told an adult.

But that woman directly contradicted her version of events today. "That's just crazy," she said. "It never happened." "I would not sit back and let someone do that."

The defendant told a similar story - he accepted there had been massages but they never involved indecent touching.

"I'm saying I haven't done these things ... I don't think I can be more clear about that," the defendant told the court.

"What they're saying is not just wrong ... it's lies. They have their reasons for it, I'm sure."

Contrary to what the girls alleged, the man said it was they who had asked for massages rather than him initiating them.

A witness today said she had seen the older complainant request the foot rub and had laid down on the floor while the man worked on her.

When asked by defence lawyer Arthur Fairley whether there was anything worrying about the man's conduct she replied: "No, nothing at all".

"She kept asking him to press harder and harder," the woman said.

"It was on the soles of her feet and calf muscles ... he didn't go any higher than that."

The Crown will make its closing address on Monday, followed by the defence and then the judge's summing up.

After that the jury will deliberate on whether or not to convict the man on each of the 12 charges.

Each count carries a maximum of 10 years in jail.

- NZ Herald

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