A Hawke's Bay artist told police photocopies of topless photographs he secretly took of his mother-in-law were freehand drawings.

Aaron John Jenkins, 27, appeared in the Hastings District Court on Monday at a judge-alone trial on three charges of committing an indecent act with the intent to insult and one of making an intimate visual recording.

However, his not-guilty pleas were vacated after police withdrew one of the indecent act charges and guilty pleas were entered to the remaining three.

The Havelock North artist made headlines in 2015 after he drew a lifelike image of the former All Black Jerry Collins who died in a car crash in France and then auctioned it on Trade Me to raise money for Collins' then 4-month-old daughter.

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According to the summary of facts the artist's offending began when his mother-in-law moved into his home in 2012.

It was during this period that he photographed his mother-in-law topless without her knowledge or consent.

He also repeatedly played pornographic movies in front of her and his sister-in-law while giving them lifts in his car by placing his phone in the car's centre console in clear view of his passenger.

The second time it happened, his sister-in-law plucked up the courage to tell him it was inappropriate and he stopped.

When his mother-in-law found out, she admitted the same thing had happened to her.
Previously she had been been too embarrassed, ashamed and humiliated to say anything about his behaviour.

Jenkins' marriage deteriorated and when he moved out of the house photocopies of the secret photographs were discovered among possessions he had left behind.

He told police the images weren't photocopies or even based on photographs, but rather images he had drawn freehand that were created in his mind.

He also denied any of the other behaviour, claiming the issues had arisen due to family conflict that was before the courts.

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He was released on bail on Monday to appear again in August for sentencing.