A Northland man has denied sexually abusing and raping his step-daughter when she was aged between 6 and 10 years old.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the girl, pleaded not guilty to two charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and to assault on a child, assault with a weapon, sexual violation by rape, and sexual conduct with a child. All the charges are representative and the offences are alleged to have occurred between September 2010 and August 2013.

A trial before a jury of nine women and three men is being held in the Whangarei District Court this week.

Opening the case for the Crown, Mike Smith said the man smacked and slapped the girl, sometimes with his hand, a stick and other items, apart from sexually abusing her.


He told the jury the only primary evidence would come from the girl who, in her police interview, described the abuses as best as she could.

Mr Smith said dates and other peripheral issues around the man's offending may help the jury in their deliberation but the key question was whether the offending happened.

The Crown intends to call a clinical psychologist to give evidence, not specifically about the case, but to help understand how human beings behaved in certain situations and why they sometimes did not report abuses immediately after they had happened.

Judge Keith de Ridder advised the jury to keep an open mind about the case throughout the trial. He said they should not discuss the case with anyone who was not on the jury.

The trial is expected to take five days.