A Tokoroa couple have gone on trial accused of systematically abusing two children for years.
Stanley Williard Hamon, 46, and Elizabeth Tanya Matangi, 33, appeared before Judge Chris McGuire in the Rotorua District Court yesterday facing 13 charges between them, including four counts of assault with a weapon, three counts of assaulting a child, three counts of threatening to kill or threatening grievous bodily harm and four charges of wilful ill-treatment.
At the start of the trial Matangi pleaded guilty to two charges of wilful neglect, with which she is jointly charged with Hamon. She was described as being in an "on again off again" relationship with him. She pleaded not guilty to the remaining charges, while Hamon pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In his opening address, Rotorua Crown prosecutor Chris Macklin told the jury the offending happened between the early 2000s and 2011 and took place in Tokoroa, Rotorua, Auckland, Putaruru and elsewhere in New Zealand.
He said the case "was not a crime drama" like those seen on TV and therefore there would be little medical or DNA evidence. Instead, the issue would be whether the jury believed the two children, a boy and a girl, when they gave evidence.
Mr Macklin said the children had been assaulted with household items, had been beaten with a leather belt and Hamon had once threatened the boy with a rifle. On another occasion Hamon ran a knife over the girl's fingers and threatened to cut her fingers off. The abuse also included the children having their heads flushed down the toilet, and emotional degradation.