A woman who was allegedly subjected to a sexual assault by her boss - an entertainment industry veteran - says she was asleep on a couch after a project wrap party when he undid her pants and started touching her.

She said once she woke and made eye contact with the man he stopped the assault, dropped to his knees and "crawled" across the floor to his own bed.

"I wouldn't have gone anywhere near him if I'd thought this was going to happen," she said.

"I trusted that man."


The man has pleaded not guilty to six charges - one of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and five of indecent assault.

His lawyer Marie Dyhrberg QC said he "absolutely denies" the charges.

His trial began in the Auckland District Court this morning before Judge Russell Collins and a jury.

He currently has name suppression - which prohibits the Herald from publishing the specifics of his work in the entertainment industry.

However it can be reported that he has been involved with a number of high-profile film and television projects in New Zealand and around the world, including working with
Disney and Netflix - and some significant retail brands.

The alleged offending happened between 2007 and 2014 at various locations within New Zealand.

Earlier today Crown prosecutor Hannah Clark outlined the allegations.

"All are younger than him, all three of them were sexually assaulted by him while working for him," Clark explained.


"All three times it was when everyone had been drinking … at a celebratory function towards the end of filming."

The jury watched a video of the first complainant's initial police interview.

In that video she explained that she and a colleague ended up staying in the man's motel room while away for work because they had been drinking and could not drive.

She said she could not remember much of the alleged attack - but not because she was drunk, because she was asleep when it began.

"I wasn't that intoxicated that I didn't know what I was doing or where I was or anything like that - but we had a good time," she said.

"I obviously couldn't drive."

In the video the woman said that until that night she had no qualms about her boss and her safety - especially that night with her female colleague sleeping nearby.

"I trusted him completely," she said.

"I would never have gone back to the motel room if I thought anything was gonna ever happen - I trusted that man."

The alleged assault started when she was asleep on a couch.

"He's reached over and touched me from behind the couch," she said.

"I was asleep when he'd undone my pants … I woke up and he saw me wake up and he got down on his hands and knees and crawled back into his bed and went to sleep.

"He stopped what he was doing, and didn't say a word - not a word.

"I heard him get back into his bed and fall asleep and start snoring."

She said she was horrified and explained why she did not take action at the time.

"I just lay there," she said.

"Being in shock is a phenomenal thing.

"You ask yourself why didn't you scream or yell or wake the other girl up?

"I just couldn't do anything.

"I never went back to sleep."

The next morning as soon as her colleague woke up the woman left.

"I just had to get out of there," she said.

She later heard that two other women had reported the man to police.

After thinking about her alleged assault for several months she decided to make her own statement.

"I just thought maybe it was a one-off, maybe it was a mistake," she said.

The woman said she had known the man for a significant amount of time before the alleged assault.

She said he was "normal" and "just a friend".

"I'd known him for years and years and years, just through mutual friends," she said.

"He was a boss also, I worked for him so … I had respect for him.

"After it happened … I couldn't even bring myself to go near him."

The woman's then-partner confronted the man about the alleged attack.

He reportedly said he was drunk and could not remember.

The woman rejected that.

"He was still quite with it," she said.

She wanted to track the man down the next day and ask "why did you do this to me".

But she didn't want to "cause a scene".

"I wanted a one-on-one ... He's pretty arrogant … I would have looked like a fool if I'd gone in there and gone crazy," she said.

Years after the alleged assault a friend who the woman had confided in called her and told her that several other women had made complaints to police.

The friend asked the woman to consider coming forward.

"I think I'd been waiting for that phone call for a very long time," she said in the evidential video.

"I just sat on it for a bit because I … didn't really know what I wanted to do."

She said she had dealt with the alleged attack on her own, navigating depression and having counselling as she tried to move forward.

But that night kept "bubbling up".

"It mucked my life up for a very long time," she said.

"I was pretty messed up."

After the woman's evidential interview was played she appeared in court via an audio-visual link.

Under cross examination Dyhrberg questioned the first complainant in detail about her memory of the alleged incident, who she spoke to afterwards and her time working for the accused.

It has been more than a decade since the alleged assault and the woman had trouble remembering some of the details.

Dyhrberg then put to the woman that she was either mistaken and another man assaulted her - or the incident never happened.

"You are not sure are you, as to who it was who touched you?" Dhyrberg said.

"You are not sure at all what happened to you?"

The woman was adamant that the accused was the man who assaulted her answering "no, that's not true" to the defence lawyer's questions.

Earlier today Clark explained to the jury the details of the other two alleged assaults.

The jury will hear from the complainants this week.

Clark said the second woman was "rubbed up and down" on her thigh by the accused at another party.

He said to her: "you look after me and I'll look after you".

Her husband was at the same party and saw the interaction.

When he came over to intervene the woman begged him "please don't say anything I don't want to lose my job".

She kept working for the accused after the alleged assault.

"She felt like a minder trying to make sure other people weren't in the same situation she was in," said Clark.

"Then he did it to someone else, and he did it in front of her."

That woman is the third complainant.

She accused the man of groping her repeatedly in a hotel room during a party with other colleagues.

When she went back to her own room to get away from him, he followed her.

"He found her hotel room that night and turned up banging on her door," Clark told the jury.

The man concedes he was at the parties with the women - but denies any wrongdoing.

"He absolutely denies all of these charges - absolutely denies," defence lawyer Marie Dyhrberg QC said.

The trial continues.


• If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.​

• If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone contact the Safe to Talk confidential crisis helpline on:

• Text 4334 and they will respond

• Email support@safetotalk.nz

• Visit https://safetotalk.nz/contact-us/ for an online chat.

Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.

If you have been abused, remember it's not your fault.