10 Oct 2009

Couple found guilty of 1991 rape of teenager

8:16 am on 10 October 2009

The father of a Lower Hutt schoolgirl raped and murdered 20 years ago has been found guilty of raping a teenager in 1991.

Garry Duffin, the father of Karla Cardno, and his wife Sharyn Hills were on trial in the High Court in Wellington this week on a number of sex charges.

The pair were charged over sexual encounters they had with a 14-year-old girl they lured into prostitution.

The jury began its deliberations at midday on Friday and took five-and-a-half hours to find Duffin and Hills guilty of rape. Duffin was also found guilty on two charges of indecent assault.

On Thursday, the couple pleaded guilty to 10 drug charges, including supplying cannabis to minors.

Justice Gendall remanded Duffin and Hills in custody. They will be sentenced on 13 November.

In his summing up, Justice Gendall said the Crown's case was that a young, naive, vulnerable girl was drugged by two adults and sexually exploited.

The judge said the defence argued there was no exploitation and the complainant was an unreliable witness, could not be believed and was reinterpreting what had happened to her.

Justice Gendall told jurors they should not infer anything from the delay between the alleged events and the complainant reporting them, as she has explained why that occurred.

Outside court, relatives of the couple said they were disappointed at the outcome.

Hills' cousin, Abigail Namana, said they believe more information should be put forward about victims' sexual experiences and the families do not believe justice was served.

However Detective Kevin Dillon, who led the investigation, said he hoped it would encourage other victims of similar offending to come forward.

Mr Dillon said the complainant had endured a lot and shown courage in coming forward after all these years.