A Northland man accused of preying on vulnerable young girls for sexual favours in exchange for gifts has denied all allegations against him.

James Brian Sanders, 68, elected to give evidence after the Crown closed its case following legal arguments in the Whangarei District Court this week.

He is facing 38 charges, including counts of rape and indecent assault, allegedly committed against 13 complainants at Doubtless Bay and Bream Bay between 1998 and 2013. Sanders faces 15 charges of indecent assault on a child aged between 12 and 16 years, one of indecent assault, three of rape, 15 of sexual conduct with a child under 12 years, two of sexual conduct with a young person under 16 and two of unlawful sexual connection.

The Crown case is Sanders used his trusted position in the community to prey on young girls, exchanging gifts such as pet rabbits, cigarettes, chocolates, clothing and money in exchange for his sexual gratification.


Sanders' lawyer Chris Muston told the jury of six men and six women that his client and his wife would give evidence.

"The defence case is the offending as alleged didn't happen. Mr Sanders will say, 'I didn't do it, none of the allegations of sexual impropriety are true, and if there was any touching there was no indecency involved,'" he said.

Mr Muston asked the jury to put prejudice and sympathy aside. Sanders' evidence began with a narrative of where he began work, his community involvement, and denials of the allegations.

The trial continues before Judge Duncan Harvey.