A jury "may not like" what a well-known artist did with his teenage students, but it was not indecent, a court has heard.

The man, whom the Herald cannot name due to court suppression orders, has been on trial for the past three weeks in the Auckland District Court.

Today, closing submissions were heard from Crown prosecutor Dale Dufty and defence counsel Phil Hamlin.

Tomorrow, Judge Brooke Gibson will provide his final remarks before the jury retires to consider its verdict.


The artist is charged with six counts of rape, five of indecent assault, five of unlawful sexual connection, two of sexual connection with a young person, and one of an indecent act on a young person.

He is also charged with assault against a student using a belt. He denies all the charges.

Defence counsel Phil Hamlin said the jury's task was to decide if the teens were "really consenting or not".

"You may not like it," he said, but added his client only engaged in sexual activity with willing women.

He said the students had in no way communicated to the artist that the physical relationships were wrong.

The onus was on the Crown to prove the teens were not consenting, Hamlin said.

He also said that "age is irrelevant", explaining that his client didn't believe any of the girls he was having sex with were under 16.

"Do you think that's reasonable? Because that's the defence he's relying on," he asked of the jury.

Hamlin said the charge of assault was a case of the artist role-playing with his student and having "Medieval sex" - there was no intent to harm.

One of the teens during the trial had described the artist's touching as "disgusting and inappropriate", but Hamlin said the teen's evidence had been "rewritten and redone to make it look indecent afterwards".

"There was nothing indecent done at the time," he said.

"His fate is in your hands ... He did believe, reasonably, that they were consenting at the time."

The artist, whose works are understood to be hanging in well-known galleries and offices, is accused of violating four women, aged 14-18.

He has said he never forced any of his students to have a sexual relationship with him during 2014 and 2015 at his private Auckland studio.