A man who spent 10 months in prison awaiting trial on a rape charge, only for the complainant to admit she had lied will not get compensation.

On the first day of Christopher Ferguson's trial in the Dunedin District Court, the 13-year-old complainant admitted she made up the allegations.

Criminal defence lawyer Graeme Newell said compensation only arises when someone is wrongly convicted - not for time spent in custody on remand.

Newell said if Ferguson paid for his own lawyer he could apply for costs, but if he was on legal aid that wouldn't apply - and the 10 months spent in jail is "lost time".

Advertisement

Christopher John Ferguson, 31, sat in jail awaiting trial at the Dunedin District Court and a chance to clear his name.

Yesterday, he was finally exonerated when Judge Michael Crosbie dismissed eight sex charges - including two of rape - after the primary complainant admitted she had made everything up.

He denied the charges but was denied bail, partly because of convictions for violence on his criminal record.

Ferguson spent the next 10 months behind bars as an accused sex offender.

He walked out of the dock a free man and tearfully embraced family members outside court.

Ferguson said yesterday he was overwhelmed and ''glad the truth came out in the end''.

''The last 10 months have been emotionally draining on me and my family. I've missed out on so much stuff.''

Despite the ordeal, the man said he bore no great animosity towards the girl who lied about him.

Advertisement

''I do feel sorry for the complainant for carrying those lies around for so long,'' Ferguson said.

''It feels great to finally have my name cleared.''

The jury sat through almost two days of evidence before the climax to the trial on Tuesday.

After viewing more than three hours of video interviews with the young girl, during which she gradually painted a picture of constant abuse, counsel Anne Stevens cross-examined.

In her opening, she told the 12 jurors the allegations against her client were fabricated; and so it proved.

''Mrs Stevens' questions were firm but fair and initially elicited some responses that saw [the complainant] become upset and need to take a break,'' Judge Crosbie said.

When the trial resumed, the girl said none of it had happened.

She had lied.

The jury was asked to leave and the judge ''gently'' reminded her of the importance of telling the truth.

Crown prosecutor Craig Power then took the teen through each of the seven charges that came about because of her accusations.

''[She] said Mr Ferguson did not touch her on any occasion,'' the judge explained to the jury before dismissing them yesterday.

''She confirmed she was not under pressure and she was telling the truth.''

The girl told him she was having family problems at the time.

''That's her roundabout explanation,'' Judge Crosbie said.

Though scenarios like it were not unheard of, the judge said, ''what you've seen is out of the ordinary and what we'd regard as an exceptional case''.

Power yesterday elected to offer no further evidence on the charges and Stevens applied for a dismissal.

Judge Crosbie said counsels' actions were ''appropriate'' and granted the application.

Rape Crisis Dunedin community educator Anna Hoek-Sims said false allegations made it harder for real sexual-abuse victims to come forward because most feared they would not be believed.

"Our understanding is that of all sexual violence complaints that are pursued in court, only 2 to 3 per cent of these cases are ones in which the complainant admits giving false evidence," she said, adding it was important to consider why it happened.

A 31 year old man was cleared of the charges of rape in Dunedin after the girl admitted she made it all up.

''I think we need to keep in mind that people who make false complaints often make them for another reason, such as personal issues, health issues or even past history of sexual violence and often when something like this happens, the person can be forgotten in the fury that follows a false accusation.

''I hope that in this case, the person receives the support they need.''