Clashes after guilty verdict

By Anne-Marie McDonald

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PROSECUTOR: Harry Mallalieu
PROSECUTOR: Harry Mallalieu

There were fiery scenes at the Whanganui District Court yesterday after a man was found guilty of more than 40 sexual crimes against young girls.

Peter Robert Doyle, 51, was found guilty of 41 charges, including multiple charges of rape, indecently assaulting a girl under 12, indecently assaulting a girl aged 12 to 16, unlawful sexual connection, and committing an indecent act on a child.

Doyle stood quietly in the dock and showed no emotion as the verdicts were read, but several of his supporters began to cry.

As Doyle was led out of the courthouse, a supporter of one of the victims shouted at him: "You ******* paedophile."

There were around 10 people in the public gallery to hear the verdicts, mostly Doyle's supporters and victims' supporters.

The two groups then clashed immediately outside the court room, yelling abuse and pushing each other.

Police and court security separated the groups.

Before the verdicts were read out, Judge Thomas Ingram spoke directly to people sitting in the public gallery.

"I appreciate this has been a long and difficult trial, and many of you have an emotional investment in these verdicts.

"However, I ask you to suffer in silence and sit quietly. Otherwise you could be in contempt of court.

"Once you are outside this court you can say anything you like."

Doyle was found not guilty on one charge of indecent assault on a girl aged between 12 to 16 years. The charges related to complaints made by three girls, who are now adults.

Crown prosecutor Harry Mallalieu said the offending happened between 1999 and 2014, and began when each of the complainants was about 9 or 10 years old.

He detailed numerous occasions where Doyle indecently touched the girls, rubbed himself against them, ejaculated on them, masturbated in front of them, or raped them.

"[He] told [one complainant] he was going to hurt her family if she told on him," the prosecutor said.

Doyle told the court offending was "nothing I would ever do".

"Wouldn't even cross my mind."

But he admitted he may have said "semi-crude" comments to the girls while he was intoxicated, and suggested they had colluded against him.

The trial began on May 2, and at 11am on Thursday the jury of five men and seven women retired to consider the charges.

They returned their verdicts 24 hours later.

Judge Ingram asked Mr Mallalieu and defence lawyer Stephen Ross, along with the jury, to meet with him in the jury room afterwards.

He thanked the jury for the effort and attention they had put into the trial.

Doyle was remanded in custody for sentencing on June 20.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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