A Rotorua gymnastics coach is on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a young woman after taking her to his home after they first met at a coffee shop.

Hareesh Nallella, 26, has pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. Both charges relate to the same woman for alleged offences in September 2017, in Rotorua.

The Crown opened its case in Rotorua District Court yesterday, telling the jury of six women and six men it was a case of unwanted sexual connection.

Crown prosecutor Anna McConachy told the jury the pair met online and this led to a morning meeting.


Nallella told the woman he was new to town and wanted to make friends, McConachy said.

They arranged to meet at Rotorua Central Mall. Nallella then suggested the pair go for a walk so they left together in his car, McConachy said.

Instead they went back to Nallella's house.

McConachy said Nallella took the complainant into the bedroom and he tried to kiss her but she resisted and tried to make him stop.

He then kissed and bit her, and she again resisted, and told him "no", McConachy said.

The Crown alleges he then committed unlawful sexual connection.

McConachy said the woman told Nallella she would punch him if he didn't stop, at which point he stopped. He then drove her back to the central city.

Nallella was interviewed by police in November 2017 and initially told them nothing happened and they only talked in his bedroom.


However, he changed his statement to police in March 2018 after police had saliva from inside the woman's bra forensically examined, which showed the DNA was "highly likely" a match to Nallella's.

McConachy said Nallella then told police he had touched the woman in his bedroom, but it was consensual.

Nallella told police he was scared to tell them the truth because in India "police were corrupt" and they would "shoot you or set you up" if they didn't like you, McConachy said.

Nallella's lawyer, Scott Mills, spoke briefly to the jury saying the issue was one of consent.

"He says sexual activity took part but it was consensual. This case comes down to credibility and reliability."

The jury was played a video of the woman's interview with police. In it, she said they talked about different things, including his work as a gymnastics coach.

She said she was surprised when they went to his house instead of the planned walk in "the countryside".

"When we got to his house it was like he was in his element, that he had planned it all ... Once you got through the front door and he locked it, you couldn't get out without a key."

He was asking her lots of sexual questions, sat her down on the bed and pushed her back to lie down. She kept trying to get up and he kept pushing her down, she said.

During the incident, she said she asked him to "please stop" about 20 times.

She said he asked her why she was shy to have sex and she told him she had been abused.

"I kind of froze after trying to push him off me. I couldn't really do much ... I had flashbacks and the past abuse kind of hit me again."

She said when he was on top of her, she tried to push him off and her wrist clicked.

She said she asked if she could go and he dropped her back in the central city.

Once she got home, she said she started crying.

In the days after, she noticed bruises on her body and her wrist was sore. She stopped eating and went to the doctor because of the stress of what happened, she said.

The defence case will open today and the case is due to finish by the end of the day.

Judge Greg Hollister-Jones is presiding.