A Napier man charged with more than two years of sexual, violent and threatening abuse of his girlfriend claims she dominated the relationship and was the "intimidator" and sex "experimenter", a High Court jury has been told.

The challenge came as 20-year-old Timothy James Hebberley went on trial today denying 29 charges including rape and allegations that amid a range of assaults and sexual violation he burnt her with a wire branding implement, a lighter, and hot wax, dislocated her limbs and detained her in a laundry at their flat with a dangerous dog.

In an opening statement, defence counsel Scott Jefferson told Justice Helen Cull and a jury of seven women and five men they would be faced with "extremely confronting material" involving people who would mainly have led a completely different lifestyle than those on the panel might ever have seen.

Mr Jefferson said the man was "5ft 8in in the old parlance" - a height of 1.73m which compared with the complainant's estimated height of about 1.85m.


The lawyer said that in a trial Justice Cull estimated would take at least until Tuesday next week, the jury should keep an open mind about all the charges, and the defence will be that it was she who intimidated the accused.

He said the jury would be told that despite the complainant's allegations, she had not taken the opportunity to go to the police until four months after the living-together relationship ended.

But Hebberley had twice gone to the police, once alleging assault during the relationship, but himself then being charged, and once in the post-relationship period complaining she had threatened to burn down her father's home. "Lo and behold we have the charges we are dealing with now," he said.

With most charges representing alleged repeated offending, Hebberley faces one of rape, seven of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, eight of injuring with intent to injure by varying means, four of assaulting a female, two of assault with a weapon, one of kidnapping by unlawful detention, two of threatening to kill, three of threatening grievous bodily harm, and one of intimidation.

Two of the threatening charges related to specific incidents alleged to have happened after the woman called her father during a dispute, resulting in him going to their address in September last year and the relationship ending.

Crown prosecutor Jo Rielly said the couple had started together as teenagers of 17 and 16, his avid gaming often making him tired and angry, and he became increasingly violent towards his partner. Neither of them worked and they spent most of their time together at home.

Mrs Rielly said 10 witnesses would be called during the trial, including the complainant whose evidence could take up to two days, including a recorded interview with police officer Detective Toni Leppien.

There would also be medical evidence related to an internal injury allegedly caused by the accused and for which she was taken to a medical centre by the accused's father.

Earlier telling the jury the complainant believed Hebberley "enjoyed" the popping sounds of dislocating her knees and other joints, Mrs Rielly said a physiotherapist would give evidence of the woman's hyper-mobility issues.

The accused's brother, two former flatmates of the accused and the complainant, and the woman's parents are also being called by the Crown to give evidence.

The case is proceeding.