Man admits dozens of child sex offences
The male half of an equestrian couple charged with dozens of child sex offences has pleaded guilty at the start of a High Court trial.
Andrew Alan Williams, 53, admitted all 56 charges he was facing at the start of the trial in the High Court in Hamilton on Monday.
Those charges include sexual violation by rape, indecent assault, and making and possessing objectionable videos and images of those acts.
However, his partner at the time of the alleged offending Laken Maree Rose, 30, has maintained not guilty pleas to 61 of the charges, which involve six identified alleged victims aged between three and 14 years old.
She pleaded guilty to four other charges of inducing one of the complainants to perform sexual acts.
A seventh alleged victim, who is seen in video footage due to be used in court, remains unidentified.
The pair were arrested in May 2019. The charges relate to offences alleged to have happened in the Waikato, Palmerston North, Dannevirke and the Bay of Plenty from 2014 to 2019.
Justice Matthew Muir remanded Williams in custody for his sentencing on Friday, February 26.
Williams was also advised by the judge that the Crown would be seeking a sentence of preventive detention.
Much of the day on Monday was spent on the arraignment of both defendants, with the particulars of the charges – some of which were similar – being read out to the two defendants.
Defence lawyer Bill Nabney is representing Williams, while Rose’s counsel is Philip Morgan QC.
The case, before a judge alone, continued with Rose as the sole defendant and opening addresses by Morgan QC and Crown prosecutor Anna Pollett.
Pollett said the pair’s activities came to light with a complaint made to the Katikati Police in March last year, involving two of the alleged victims.
The police subsequently executed a search warrant at the couple’s home in Cambridge. That inspection yielded evidence of “years of sexual exploitation of young people and children by both defendants,” Pollett said.
Children’s underwear – some with the crotch cut out, some still in their original packaging – and other items of children’s clothing, children’s fairy wings and a wand, various kinds of sex toys, handcuffs, cable ties, a Panasonic camcorder and pornographic DVDs were discovered at the couple’s house.
The defendants do not have children of their own.
Computers, a hard drive, an iPad and cellphones were also seized, and later sent to the police Digital Forensic Unit for analysis.
Also found were sex enhancement pills labelled “Boner”, and print-outs of the dates of school holidays.
The police had also compiled booklets detailing messages between the pair that discussed the planning of their offending, Pollett said.
In some of the cases relating to the youngest victim, aged three, Pollett said Rose had taken on the role of distracting the victim’s mother, to enable Williams to “get away with” violating her.
In his opening address, Morgan QC argued that two charges involving one of the complainants related to acts that were consensual.
In relation to other charges, Morgan QC said his client had been compelled by Williams to film some of the sex acts against her will.
“The defendant was not a party ... she was a reluctant spectator.”
The court was told the couple had been in a relationship for 10 years. Although it briefly foundered for a time, it was resumed soon after.
Some of the pictures and footage allegedly filmed by the defendants was played to the court during the presentation of Crown evidence on Monday afternoon.
The trial continues.