An entertainment industry veteran has been found guilty of indecent assault after a high-profile trial in Auckland.
After three days of deliberations, a jury returned to the Auckland District Court today with verdicts on three of the seven charges he was facing.
They were not able to reach verdicts on four other charges.
He was found guilty on two charges of indecent assault.
He was found not guilty on one charge of sexual violation.
The man, whose name remains suppressed, was facing seven charges of sexual violation and indecent assault relating to three women on separate occasions.
Each woman was an employee of the man and the alleged incidents happened at end-of-project celebration functions.
Judge Russell Collins discharged the jury on the counts they could not reach verdict on.
He thanked them and discharged them.
The man may seek a discharge without conviction. If so he must file an application in early March.
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At about 11.30am the jury were given a majority direction.
They had indicated to Judge Collins that they were struggling to reach unanimity on all charges.
Judge Collins enabled them to proceed to give a verdict with a majority.
He said their primary task was to "try and reach unanimity".
But on any given charge a majority verdict is permissible when allowed by a judge.
Less than an hour after that direction was given the jury returned to court with its decision.
As the verdicts were read the man, who cannot be identified, stood quietly.
He looked distressed but did not react openly.
His partner and her aunt, who have supported him in court every day of the trial, also remained quiet in the back of the court.
Judge Collins did not enter the convictions, preferring to do so on the date of sentencing.
The court heard that the man had one previous conviction for drink-driving.
He will remain on bail but a previous condition stating he could travel internationally has been revoked.
He is now unable to leave New Zealand.
He will be sentenced on March 20 at 9am.
Judge sums up, jury retires
Judge Collins summed up the case for the jury on Tuesday morning before sending them out at 12.12pm to consider whether the man is guilty or should be acquitted on the charges.
The trial, in the Auckland District Court, is in its eighth day.
The man was facing a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and six of indecent assault.
All charges relate to women that he employed to work on projects with him.
And all the alleged incidents happened when they were at functions marking end-of-project celebrations.
He "absolutely denies" the charges and his defence is that the first woman is mistaken and the other two have lied and even worked together to fabricate allegations to destroy his career.
An interim suppression order prevents the Herald from publishing the man's name or specific details of the work he does in the industry.
However, it can be reported that he has been involved with a number of high-profile film and television projects in New Zealand and around the world, and some significant retail brands.
Yesterday, Crown prosecutor Hannah Clark and defence lawyer Marie Dyhrberg QC delivered closing addresses to the jury.
Judge Collins outlined both sides of the case to them shortly after 10am today.
"Your task is not to choose between them," he told jurors.
"On any given charge it is for the Crown to prove its case - and to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt."
He instructed the jury to consider the evidence carefully and challenged them to approach the matter "logically and rationally".
He said they had to banish feelings and not allow sympathy or prejudice to enter deliberations - particularly personal thoughts on sexual violence.
He used the defendant's link to Hollywood's sex-assault-accused Harvey Weinstein as an example.
It was revealed to the jury by two defence witnesses that the accused was working on Weinstein-related projects when the alleged sex assaults occurred.
But Judge Collins said that was not something the jury should give weight to.
"Mr Weinstein's got nothing to do with the issues in this trial - and for you to somehow link would be quite simply false reasoning," he said.
"That would be an example of prejudice being allowed to come into the trial.
"There should be no speculation, no guesswork, but you are entitled to draw reasonable conclusions from proven facts."
Judge Collins said it was not "an all or nothing situation" with witnesses and they could believe their evidence in full, part or not at all.
"Jury trials are not popularity contests, it's not about who you like," he said.
Rather, it was about the facts and whether the Crown had proven its case.
He reminded the jury that the onus was on the Crown - and only it - to prove the charges.
"What quality of proof is required? It's beyond reasonable doubt," he said.
"Do not be afraid of it, there's no mystery or magic to it.
"You start from the proposition that the accused is innocent ... then give fair consideration to the evidence ... if you find the Crown has proven it you find him guilty.
"Mathematical certainty is not required ... the Crown has to make you sure - that is what beyond reasonable doubt means ... probably guilty or likely guilty are not good enough.
"If you cannot be sure you must find the defendant not guilty."
He said the fact there were three complainants was not something the jury should give specific weight to.
While the Crown says there was a "pattern of offending" and the details of the alleged assaults gave support to the charges - the defence rejected that.
The first complainant alleges the man sexually violated her as she slept on a couch in his motel room following a wrap party for the project he hired her to work on.
The second woman says the man rubbed her thigh at another party, and made a suggestive comment.
The third alleges he groped her repeatedly at a hotel room following a wrap party - while surrounded by other colleagues.
When she left the room to get away from him, the complainant says he followed her to her hotel room and banged on the door trying to get in.
Clark said the jury could be sure the women were telling the truth and the physical acts "did happen at the hands of this man".
She rejected the suggestion the other complainants lied about their alleged assault, or "got together" to collude against the man in a "vitriolic" attack as a result of losing jobs.
"That simply did not happen ... You can safely place this conspiracy theory to one side," said Clark.
"They have described exactly what happened, and nothing more - and that is because they have told you the truth."
Dyhrberg said the man was not guilty - rather he was the victim of false allegations made by women out for "revenge".
"Together and individually they have connived and put in place a plan to bring [the accused] down," she said of the second and third complainant.
"They knew in this climate and that industry - that is enough for [the accused] not to continue with jobs, status, work.
"And we know in the public domain, that in this climate - that's all it needs.
"They have been in cahoots, they have been working as a team."
Dyhrberg said the first complainant was simply mistaken, and if an assault did happen, her client was not the man responsible.