A man accused of raping his sister-in-law has taken the stand in his own trial to reject allegations he touched her when she was as young as 12.
The Napier man, a former school teacher, pleaded not guilty to one representative charge of rape and two of indecent assault alleged to have happened more than 40 years ago.
Now standing trial in the Napier District Court before Judge Tony Adeane, he yesterday told the jury the allegations they heard from his sister-in-law on Monday were not true.
She testified he had first touched her when she was 12 and that the offending progressed to full intercourse before her sister accidentally walked in on one of their encounters.
The court heard she hadn't told anyone for fear of the consequences for her family and that it wasn't until a recent dispute over a familial estate that she went to police about it.
The man categorically denied the offending and told the court he first became aware of the allegations in 2014.
His testimony was supported by his wife, the complainant's sister, who also denied any of the incidents happening; including one occasion where the defendant was confronted about the alleged offending at his home.
The complainant's then-boyfriend, now her ex-husband of 20 years, told the court he had paid the man an angry visit after she said she had lost her virginity to her brother-in-law and that he had gone on to make sexual comments towards her in later years.
He told the court he went to the defendant's house and threatened to "break every bone in his body" if he touched her again.
"He stood there very sheepishly behind the door ... he was fully aware of why I was there," the man said.
The court heard the man did not deny the allegations during this confrontation and that his wife came to the door and yelled, "You're going to ruin this family!"
Yesterday the defendant's wife told the court she didn't have any recollections of such an altercation and under cross-examination told the court telling the truth was of particular importance to her.
"I'm a Roman Catholic, a practising Catholic, and I believe that honesty is knowing what people are doing behind your back."
The complainant's ex-husband told the court he had watched his wife carry an emotional burden for years.
"You could see it wearing her down, the whole thing. It was a prison sentence she had. It was wearing her down."
When asked why he didn't raise the issue with her parents when cross-examined, the man said the complainant had begged him not to and he had respected her wishes.
In his closing submissions Crown prosecutor Steve Manning said it was clear that someone was lying in the case.
"It's trite to say it but I will. There's no middle ground in this case. It's black or white ... Let's call a spade a spade, someone is lying here."
He asked the jury to consider the complainant's testimony, her demeanour and how "bizarre" it would be for her to fabricate the story, detailing her sister's involvement, if it weren't true.
"We're talking about the subtle manipulation of a teenage girl in an opportunistic manner."
The man's defence lawyer Roger Philip said the complainant had malicious motivations for coming to the police with the claims 43 years after the alleged incidents.
In his closing submissions he said the man had been "sideswiped" by the allegations which were absolutely defended by his own testimony during the trial.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations first thing this morning.