A 71-year-old man is on trial this week for rape and indecency charges from nearly 60 years ago.

Raymond Bradley is charged with raping and indecently assaulting two girls in Porirua in the 60s and early 70s, both of whom were aged under 12 during some of the alleged offending.

Defence lawyer Wayne McKean told the jury of eight men and four women in the Wellington District Court yesterday that Bradley did have sex with one of the complainants when she was aged 15, and again at 17, but that it was consensual.

Crown prosecutor Kate Feltham gave her opening address, telling the jury how that complainant's mother had scolded and blamed her after she said Bradley had raped her.

Advertisement

The girl was 13 years old at the time and revealed what allegedly happened after her mother discovered her bloodied underwear.

"Her mother was angry, blamed her for what had occurred, and sent her to the doctor to get a contraceptive pill, with a warning that she had better not be pregnant," Feltham said.

Bradley is said to have offended against both girls on a number of occasions between 1960 and 1972. The earliest charge is dated between 1960 and 1961, when the complainant was about 7 or 8 years old, and Bradley would have been 13 or 14.

He faces five counts of rape, three of indecent assault, three of performing an indecent act, and one of inducing a girl to do an indecent act on him.

Bradley moved to the US when he was a young man and lived there permanently until a few years ago when he moved back to New Zealand.

Upon finding out he was living in New Zealand again, the complainants contacted police about the historical allegations.

In a brief opening address to the jury, McKean said Bradley never had any sexual contact with the first victim, but did have consensual sex with the second.

"The trial relates to alleged events that happened more than 45 years ago, and in some cases up to 60 years ago," he said.

Advertisement

"The task for you in this trial is to try and go back to that time and resolve the question of what happened, when did it happen, and how did it happen ... could [the first complainant] really remember the detail or is she making it up?"

McKean said the jury would need to decide whether the complainants were "recreating things or fabricating things".

In a video interview with police, the first complainant said she had "blanked" the incidents from her mind.

"That was my coping mechanism. As a consequence, I don't actually remember much about any events in my life, including events that have happened in my adult life with my children. I feel sorry about that," she said.

The woman said she never told her parents about what happened because "I couldn't trust my parents to support me, and certainly not listen to me anyway".

For an example, she pointed to a time when she was a child and had been called a bitch by a girl from school. When she went home and told her mother what the other girl had said, "mum's reaction was I shouldn't use words like that, so she washed my mouth out with soap and water".

After the alleged incidents with Bradley, the woman said she felt "naughty and dirty" and "that it was somehow my fault even though I was only little".

"I felt disgusting and naughty and if I said anything I would get into trouble," she said.

She described being afraid she was going to have a baby after one occasion where Bradley allegedly raped her, and she found blood on the bed.

"I thought that to have a baby you have to have your period," the woman said through sobs.

"So there was blood in there ... I remember thinking about having a baby and thinking 'what am I going to do?'"

The trial is set down for one week but may spill over into next week.