Porirua sexual assault accused will have fitness to plead assessed

By Jimmy Ellingham

The 40-year-old appeared in the Porirua District Court today. Photo / File
The 40-year-old appeared in the Porirua District Court today. Photo / File

The man accused of forcing his way into a 65-year-old woman's Porirua home and subjecting her to a prolonged sexual attack will have his fitness to plead assessed.

Through his lawyer, the man also passed a message to the woman. He says he doesn't want to drag the case out unnecessarily.

The 40-year-old, who faces eight charges stemming from the incident on June 17, appeared in the Porirua District Court today.

Defence lawyer Nick Chisnall successfully asked for a temporary name suppression order to continue until the man makes his pleas.

Mr Chisnall said he hadn't yet received all the case documents from police so couldn't say if publicity now would affect the man's fair-trial rights.

He also requested a "screening assessment" into the man's fitness to plead and on the issue of sanity.

Mr Chisnall had a message from the man, which he said police were aware of.

"[He] has asked me to advise the court, and really this is for the benefit of the complainant ... he has no wish in this case to prolong the matter any longer than necessary."

At the man's first court appearance last week police said they would oppose suppression continuing and were in favour of publishing the man's image, a break from the neutral stance prosecutors normally adopt.

Judge Denys Barry said he saw no alternative but to extend the temporary suppression order while "the case stands in something of a limbo".

The man faces three charges of sexual violation and one each of rape, making the woman unconscious with intent to commit rape, threatening to kill her, detaining her without consent and unlawfully entering her property.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

He also faces a charge dating from June 12, where he is accused of threatening a woman.

The man remains in custody until his next appearance later this month.

Police launched a manhunt after the assault, including an extensive door-to-door push for information.

Kapiti Mana area commander Paul Basham said after the man's arrest he was tracked down through "good old-fashioned police work".

The victim meanwhile was being comforted by family members.

- NZ Herald

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