Sexual curiosity was the motivation for an intimate video made by a Kawerau couple of their employee who was unaware he was being recorded.

Melissa Sue O'Hagan, 35, and Bevan Rhys Nelson, 36, were sentenced on charges of making an intimate video and theft when they appeared in the Whakatane District Court this week. Nelson was also sentenced on an additional charge of intentional damage.

Judge Louis Bidois said the essentially married couple, who ran a building maintenance business in Kawerau, had employed the victim as a labourer in February on a trial-basis.

The couple conspired to convince him to engage in sexual intercourse with O'Hagan and suggested a threesome.

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According to the police summary of facts, the victim initially declined their advances but, on March 17, they arranged for him to stay the night at their house with Nelson telling him he could have "a free pass for one night only" referring to having sex with O'Hagan.

O'Hagan and Nelson had installed a camera in the bedroom, connected with cellphones and the computer.

"During the evening, the victim was enticed into a room with O'Hagan and engaged in consensual sex. He was not aware this was being videoed and recorded on devices.

"Nelson then entered the room shortly thereafter and there was an invitation, after he was told there was a video recording of what occurred, of a threesome," Judge Bidois said.

The summary of facts said the victim was upset and left the bedroom and went to sleep in another room.

The following day, Nelson told the victim that he had several copies of the sex video and if he was to leave his job it would be published on the internet.

Four days later, on March 21, the victim picked up a set of four tyres with aluminium rims but the tyres deflated while he was driving so he took the car to a mechanic. The mechanic found that holes had been deliberately drilled through the rims, meaning they could not be used unless they were repaired.

Nelson told police he drilled the holes in the rims because he was angry and admitted "it was a stupid thing to do".

The theft charge related to the couple donating a trailer-load of the victim's property, including a dressing table, bed and clothes, to charity after he was too upset and embarrassed to pick them up.

During sentencing, Judge Bidois said O'Hagan and Nelson had no sinister motivation, in terms of blackmailing the victim, behind their offending.

"It was, in some respect, to ensure nothing untoward happened to O'Hagan in the first sexual encounter.

"It may well have been sexual curiosity; it hasn't properly been explained to me, but I find it difficult to understand how a husband and wife can engage in such behaviour."

Judge Bidois said the offending has had further consequences for O'Hagan and Nelson in the family court and with the Employment Relations Authority.

"I have a wider responsibility to ensure people do not get video recorded in intimate ways or behaviour without their knowledge.

"Had you told him and he engaged in all of this, there would be no offence committed. But the reality is, it was hidden from him and he was enticed into having sex and there is no doubt he was a willing participant in that.

"The fear is that these things end up on the internet and I am told, fortunately, all the recordings have been recovered."

Judge Bidois sentenced O'Hagan and Nelson to two months home detention and 120 hours community work each.

They were each ordered to pay $250 in reparation on the theft charge.
In relation to emotional harm, O'Hagan, having had sex with the victim, was ordered to pay $1750 and Nelson, who videoed the encounter, $1250.

Judge Bidios also ordered the destruction of the recordings.

- Whakatane Beacon