The trial involving an Auckland taxi driver who is accused of groping one of his passengers, well-known radio host Jay-Jay Feeney, has adjourned and the jury is set to deliberate on a verdict tomorrow.
Baljeet Singh's trial for allegedly indecently assaulting the radio host began yesterday in the Auckland District Court before a jury and Judge Nevin Dawson.
Singh, 28, denies the charge and pleaded not guilty last year.
This afternoon the courtroom heard the closing statements from both the Crown and Singh's defence counsel.
Crown prosecutor Nick Webby started by saying the trial had been short, but it was still an important trial for those concerned.
He said the sole issue at hand for the jury was to determine whether Singh touched Feeney's breast inside the taxi, or not.
"If he did, as Jay-Jay Feeney said he did, then there should be no difficulty finding it was indecent touching," he said.
Webb said a trial like this comes down to truth and lies.
"Two versions of events can't co-exist," he said.
"Either Jay-Jay Feeney is telling the truth or she made it up. There are no grey areas."
Webb said very little of what happened in the taxi that morning is in dispute, apart from whether the touching happened.
Singh confirmed earlier in the trial that he did not dispute that he'd asked Feeney about her relationship status, asked if he could be her boyfriend, complimented her on her looks and talked about her breasts.
Webb said it was now up to the jury to decide what happened in the taxi after this conversation.
"If you accept Jay-Jay Feeney's evidence, that will be enough. That is proof beyond reasonable doubt," he said.
Webb argued that actions that took place after the event, such as Feeney's Facebook post about the incident and subsequent media coverage, won't help in determining what happened.
He said Feeney had presented consistent evidence and had been candid about her level of intoxication that morning.
"She just told it like it was. There was a consistent narrative that didn't change," he said.
"She hasn't once resiled from the fact she was touched by this man in his taxi on that morning," he said.
He pointed out that Feeney's statement was supported by evidence given by her property manager, and CCTV footage which showed a shadow following Feeney to her apartment after the incident.
However, defence counsel Marie Dyhrberg QC argued that Feeney had provided unsubstantiated and unreliable evidence.
She said Singh had been falsely accused, and subsequently was living everyone's worst nightmare.
"He was just carrying out his job, taking home an initially abusive, drunk woman, and he got her home safely," she said.
Dyhrberg said the jury could not rely on the evidence Feeney had given.
"The statements given are inconsistent with each other and against common sense," she said.
Dyhrberg disputed evidence that Singh had tried to follow Feeney into her apartment building.
She said Feeney had also been inconsistent in her evidence when detailing whether Singh had offered a free ride in exchange to touch her breasts or to "hook up".
She also pointed out that Feeney had been confused about whether the alleged indecent assault took place before or after payment for the taxi fare.
"She would have been fully justified to tell him to get lost and get out of the cab quick smart if the defendant touched her breasts before payment," Dyhrberg said.
However, evidence submitted shows Feeney paid for the cab fare despite whether the alleged assault took place before or after payment.
The credibility of Feeney's evidence was also questioned in regards to her confusion over whether she took the stairs or the lift to her apartment that morning.
Dyhrberg also disputed the fact that Feeney did not call the police about the alleged incident.
"She didn't want police to be involved as she was starting to realise her fabrication was going down a path she didn't want to go," Dyhrberg said.
"She was trapped in a false story she could not resile from."
Dyhrberg stated there were also no forensics, eye-witnesses or physical evidence to support the claims.
"The evidence is just nonsense. We are dealing with credibility and reliability and where she has fallen short.
"Feeney's evidence is the only evidence in this case and it is on this that you have to be sure and satisfied."
She argued that the fact Feeney had spoken publicly about the incident on social media, and in the media, did not make the accusations more likely to be true.
"The defence is clear that Jay-Jay Feeney is lying and is not to be believed," she said.
She said the defence did not have to establish a motive for lying but suggested Feeney's actions were a "drunken attempt for attention from her ex-husband, that got out of control".
"It was a drunken early-morning plan for sympathy and drama," she said.
Dyhrberg said the events of the morning were nothing but mutual banter, joking and flirtation.
She said Singh may have got "too personal" with his conversation, but argued just because he was "out of line" didn't give credit to whether further actions had taken place.
"Inappropriate conversation does not constitute indecent assault," Dyhrberg said.
She said her client was nothing more than an easy target facing false allegations.
The trial was adjourned and the jury is set to reconvene at the Auckland District Court tomorrow morning at 9.30am.