Kaitaia backpacker owner pleads guilty to indecency charges

By Imran Ali -
Michael Harris has pleaded guilty to drugging and indecently assaulting backpackers staying at his Kaitaia lodge. Photo / PETER DE GRAAF
Michael Harris has pleaded guilty to drugging and indecently assaulting backpackers staying at his Kaitaia lodge. Photo / PETER DE GRAAF

The owner of a Kaitaia backpackers' lodge has pleaded guilty to all 42 charges of making and possessing intimate visual recordings of male guests.

Michael Harris, 56, initially entered pleas to 14 charges in the High Court in Whangarei in July and elected a jury trial on 28 other charges.

Nine of the 14 are representative charges.

However, he also pleaded guilty yesterday to those other 28 charges on which he earlier opted for a jury trial.

They included 12 charges of stupefying his victims, one of attempting to stupefy, and 15 of indecent assault.

Seven of those are representative charges. Harris offended between May 2005 and September 2014.

He was arrested on September 10, 2014, after a guest at his Main Street Lodge backpackers laid a complaint with Kaitaia police about an alleged incident.

Harris will be sentenced on December 2.

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