Abduction and sex assault trial stops early for day after teenage witness becomes upset

By Jill Nicholas -
Rotorua Courthouse. Photo/file
Rotorua Courthouse. Photo/file

A teenager testifying against a man who allegedly kept her with him for more than a fortnight in 2015 became so upset the judge called an early halt to the trial's first day.

It will resume tomorrowin the Rotorua District Court.

A 38-year-old is charged with one count of abduction, three of sexual connection with the young woman at Maraetai, Taupo and Rotorua and seven burglary charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

His name is suppressed, at least until the end of the trial.

The man's alleged offending sparked a manhunt across the eastern and central North Island culminating near East Cape on August 6, 2015.

The teenager began her evidence by saying she had met the defendant at her boyfriend's South Auckland home.

He had driven her away after the boyfriend's parents hit her when his mother accused her of rubbing her leg against the defendant's.

She got as far as saying he and others had gone to Maraetai before breaking down.

Putting the Maraetai portion of her evidence on hold, the prosecutor questioned her about what happened subsequently. She said the man had taken her to a house but ordered her to stay in the car for two to three hours, insisting there were cameras focused on the drive.

This made her too scared to run off. She said he returned with "heaps" of money in $20 notes and told her they were going to a motel.

"I said I just wanted to go home, I wanted him to drop me off and I'd walk, he said 'no, you are coming with me'."

In his opening prosecutor Chris Macklin claimed that when the pair were at Maraetai they'd drunk vodka RDTs until the girl vomited.

He claimed the man told her he'd teach her to drive, let her drive briefly then began to make romantic advances towards her.

"She was drunk, confused, thought it was kind of wrong to have sex in the car, tried to resist," Mr Macklin said.

The trial is expected to run for up to two weeks.

- AAP

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