23 Jul 2009

Crown abandons sex trial against Auckland father

4:40 pm on 23 July 2009

The Crown has abandoned a trial against an Auckland man originally accused of selling his daughter for sexual purposes.

The parents, who will never be named for legal reasons, were on trial at the High Court in Auckland charged with 16 offences in September 2007, including sexual conduct with a young person and child cruelty.

The latter charge also concerned the girl's seven siblings.

The couple's oldest daughter, now aged 14, on Wednesday admitted in court that she had lied about her father letting three men sexually assault her in return for $40.

On Thursday, she retracted more of her police statement, in which she had alleged that she and her siblings were beaten on a regular basis and neglected.

The Crown has now amended the charges against the couple, with both pleading guilty to one charge each of neglect and the man admitting four counts of assault.

Justice Venning said a housing official provided adequate evidence of neglect in terms of housing and hygiene, and that was accepted by the defence.

The father has been remanded in custody for sentencing, while the mother has been granted bail. Both will reappear in court on 17 September.