June 24, 2013

Jury mulls rape and kidnap verdict

A jury has retired to consider its verdict in the case of a Wairarapa man accused of raping and kidnapping a teenager.

Michael Lihou, 44, denies a total of eight counts that he raped, sexually assaulted, assaulted, kidnapped and threatened to kill the then 17-year-old in Carterton last year jeans embroidery, following a drinking and smoking cannabis session.

The woman said she had been employed by Lihou to write his memoirs, but the job didn't involve much paperwork and they spent a lot of time drinking and getting stoned.

Judge Warwick Gendall on Friday gave his instructions on how to treat the evidence presented during the five-day trial in the High Court at Wellington.

The case is unusual in that the jury has been informed Lihou has convictions for similar rape and kidnapping charges in 1988 and 1996.

The Crown says that there are similarities in the incidents, but Justice Gendall warned the jury the earlier convictions were only one part of the evidence.

"He has done some awful things before but he is entitled to be judged by you in a manner that does not involve prejudice or sympathy wine class."

Lihou's lawyer Noel Sainsbury has argued that the woman had consensual sex with Lihou following a night of "diesel and weed" and willingly went with him when they walked into the Wairarapa countryside.

He said she made up the rape and other accusations because she realised her father and boyfriend would be furious with her for spending the night with Lihou.

She knew Lihou had the previous convictions and that her story would be "lapped up" Asian college of knowledge management, Mr Sainsbury said.

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