Deep-seated anger, resentment and bitterness over not receiving some of Arthur Allan Thomas' money boiled over and drove two complainants "down a dangerous and wicked path" to lie under oath about him sexually abusing them, a jury has been told.
"The complainants are playing out deep-seated anger and resentment not because of consequence of any sexual abuse, but the fact they were left out of Arthur Allan Thomas' windfall," defence lawyer Marie Dyhrberg QC said.
"Money does terrible things to some people."
But Crown prosecutor Aaron Perkins QC said it is "far fetched in the extreme" to think two complainants came to court to "commit perjury" and "all they wanted was an apology".
"They have disclosed to a room full of strangers intensively private information and details ... do you really think they are making that up?" he said.
If the complainants were so concerned with Thomas' money, they would have gone straight to him with the issue, Perkins QC suggested.
Closing arguments are being made in Thomas' trial for four charges of indecent assault and one of rape - all historical in nature - after two complainants came forward to police in 2019.
Thomas' almost million-dollar compensation - from being pardoned of the 1970 Crewe murders - has become his "curse" , Dyhrberg QC claimed, and the complainants wish to "destroy" him with false allegations.
But the Crown attempted to separate the historical sex offending trial to Thomas' two trials for the Crewe murders, calling them "chalk and cheese".
"Just because someone has been wrongfully convicted does not mean on a completely different proceeding he cannot be rightfully convicted," Perkins QC said.
"Being responsible for what he did to them, the sexual offences, is an entirely different thing to innocence on murder charges."
The court has heard evidence from a man who claimed to be involved in the alleged offending, memories that have "haunted" him for years.
The man and one complainant alleged Thomas enticed them to engage in sexual acts while he watched.
"It is fanciful to suggest that man was lying about the role being played by Mr Thomas in those activities," Perkins QC said.
"He remembers what Thomas did ... including incredibly sensitive and intimate details.
"Of course it's true."
But Dyhrberg QC said the man is an unreliable witness and his evidence was a "fantasy land".
"He cannot himself rely on his own memory, how can you?" she put to the jury.
A second complainant alleged Thomas touched her inappropriately without her consent, and forced her to touch him inappropriately.
But all the allegations are lies which have distorted and "got out of control" over time, Dyhrberg said, to "thwart justice and fairness".
Much of the details of the offending have been heavily suppressed, such as when and where it took place, to protect the identities of the complainants.
Judge John Bergseng will sum up the case at Manukau District Court before the jury retires.
Thomas was twice found guilty of the murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe, who were shot dead in their Pukekawa farmhouse in June 1970 and dumped in the Waikato River.
A 1980 Royal Commission of Inquiry found that a cartridge case in the Crewes' garden - said to have come from a rifle belonging to Thomas - was planted at the scene by detectives.
Thomas was granted a royal pardon and awarded $950,000 in compensation, after spending nine years behind bars.
The Crewe murders remain unsolved.