New Zealand Police v EQ [2020] NZYC 453

Published 13 October 2021

Judge alone trial — male assaults female — sexual violation by rape — credibility of complainant — Crimes Act 1961, ss 193 & 194— Liu v Police [2017] NZHC 1319. The young person denied 10 charges relating to six separate alleged incidents. He had been charged with assault with intent to injure, threatening to kill, strangulation, male assaults female, and sexual violation by rape. The young person had also not denied several other charges: one each of common assault, threatening to kill, assault with intent to injure, and three of male assaults female. In order for the offence of assault with intent to injure to be established, the police had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the young person intentionally touched the body of the complainant and did it with the intention of causing injury to the complainant, where "injury" means to cause a hurt or calculated to interfere with the other person's comfort to an extent that is more than trifling or transitory. With regards to the male assaults female charge, the police had to prove to the same standard that the young person is male and the complainant female; the young person applied force to the complainant and that force was deliberate; the complainant did not consent, and the young person did not believe there was consent. It had to be proven with relation to the strangulation charge that the young person intentionally or recklessly blocked the complainant's nose or mouth or applied pressure to her throat or neck and that by doing so the complainant's normal breathing or blood circulation was impeded. In relation to the charge of threatening to kill, the police had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the young person threatened to kill (do grievous bodily harm to) the complainant and that the threat was deliberately made with the intention of influencing the complainant, not that the young person actually intended to carry out the threat. With the rape charge, it must be proven that the young person penetrated the genitalia or anus of the complainant with his penis, that the complainant did not consent and the young person did not believe on reasonable grounds that the complainant was consenting. The alleged incidents occurred over a two-and-a-half-month period. Evidence was provided by multiple witnesses and by the complainant. The ultimate issue in respect of the charges not denied turned on the credibility of the complainant. The Judge concluded that the complainant was unconvincing, as she had lied about several serious matters – about being pregnant, that she had an abortion and two miscarriages, as well as lying to her relative about where she was. The Judge found that the young person was probably guilty, but not on those charges, and found the young person not guilty on each charge. Judgment Date: 8 September 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *