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Last minute guilty pleas from abductor

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/03/2017
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Eleventh hour guilty pleas have come from a man on trial for abduction, sexual connection and burglary charges.

The pleas were made on Friday as closing arguments were to begin in the Rotorua District Court where a jury of 11 women and one man have been trying the defendant since March 6.

Judge Maree MacKenzie convicted the 38-year-old on the abduction charge which was that between August 2 and August 6, 2015 between Rotorua and Cape Runaway he abducted a 15-year-old girl with the intention of depriving her parents of her.

Representative sexual connection charges were compressed into one and burglary charges relating to Lichfield, Tokoroa and Rotorua were reduced to receive by the Crown after the defendant intimated his intended plea change.

The man was issued with the first of a three strikes warning on the sexual connection charges.

His name remains suppressed at least until his sentencing on May 11, to protect the 15-year-old's identity and her automatic legal right for her name to remain out of the public arena.

Another burglary charge, which was changed to receiving, at Cape Runaway, was dismissed.

Judge Mackenzie said there had been widespread publicity of both names when a search was on for the pair after the girl disappeared from South Auckland, resulting in a search for her and the defendant.

She thanked the jury for its patience, tolerance and graciousness for the amount of time they had had to spend in the jury room while legal matters were dealt with out of the public eye.

The defendant was remanded in custody.

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