The jury has retired to consider its verdict in the trial of a spiritual medium accused of indecently assaulting a 17-year-old male during a cleansing ritual.

Hastings man Craig Wright, 35, is standing trial in the Napier District Court this week after pleading not guilty to two charges of indecent assault.

He is accused of touching the complainant's penis, and making the teenager touch his own penis, during a spiritual cleansing at a Napier address on May 6 last year.

Wright found himself at the address with associates from a local paranormal group after occupants of the house contacted them about unwanted spiritual activity at the property.


In a DVD interview played to the jury yesterday the defendant said he had determined the complainant had an attachment or entity after poking his finger in the teenager's belly button.

The court heard those in the room agreed Wright should perform a cleansing ritual on the male in another room of the house.

What happened next is now up to the jury to decide, but in a DVD interview played to the jury yesterday the teenager said Wright asked him to lie on his side before taking his pants off and cupping his penis.

The complainant also alleged the defendant said spirits were making his jeans tight so he removed them and then took the teenager's hand and put it on his own penis.

In a DVD interview with Detective Constable Alex Sinister of Napier police, Wright explained the cleansing ritual he had performed on the complainant.

He said he poured white salt across the door to the room, closed it and lit white tea candles while the complainant laid still on his back.

"When you remove an entity or parasite you've got to close off a room because you can't have anyone else because their energy can jump from one person to another person which makes my job a lot harder."

During the interview Wright asked if he could hold the detective's hand to demonstrate the ritual and, when the detective asked him to use his own hand, he waved it over a table in the room to mimic the cleansing procedure.


He categorically denied the allegations of indecent assault put to him and when asked to explain why the teenager had made such allegations, he said "I have no idea because it didn't happen".

Crown prosecutor Cameron Stuart began his closing address by telling the jury the incident had begun with genuine concern that there was an attachment or entity in the complainant.

"In those circumstances who are you going to call? Who would you trust to help? If you were in their shoes would you call on someone with the requisite skills to help? Yes you would."

He said there was a significant amount of trust put in Wright and told the jury the teenager didn't remove himself from the situation because he feared his father would overreact and "kill" the defendant.

"His father probably would have tried to kill him ... the complainant would be here giving evidence in court in support of his father not against the defendant."

He also told the jury the teenager's delayed admission didn't mean his evidence was untrue.

"There are as many ways of reacting as there are people in the world. There is no right way to react to sexual abuse. It depends on the person and the circumstances."

In his closing address Wright's defence lawyer, Alan Cressey, told the jury the complainant had a vendetta against Wright and his paranormal group and said the teenager's claims were implausible because he had every opportunity to remove himself from the situation.

"I suggest to you that either [the complainant's] mind was playing tricks on him ... or alternatively he has made false accusations. He's lied about being sexually assaulted because he thought Mr Wright was a weirdo."

In her summary Judge Bridget Mackintosh said the credibility of the trial's witnesses was at the heart of the case. There had been no other form of evidence.

She asked the jurors to put aside any feelings of sympathy or prejudice during their deliberations, which are set to begin again this morning.