8 Sep 2015

Name suppression lifted on rape accused

10:58 am on 8 September 2015

Name suppression has lapsed for the Nelson man charged with rape following an early morning attack on a woman in her Richmond home in August.

Nelson District Court

Nelson District Court Photo: RNZ

He can now be named as Vunga Fetuani, a 34-year-old horticulturist originally from Tonga.

Mr Fetuani has denied the charge but remains in custody pending a trial set for October.

An application for bail was considered when he appeared recently in the Nelson District Court via audiovisual link from Christchurch, where he is in custody, but no suitable address could be found, defence lawyer Mark Dollimore said.

Details were relayed to the accused through an interpreter.

The rape charge followed a police investigation after a couple woke to find an intruder in their bedroom about 3am on Sunday 9 August.

Police later confirmed that the female occupant of the house was sexually assaulted during the incident. They then said they were investigating a rape complaint.

Judge Tony Zohrab granted interim name suppression last week, to allow time for circumstances to be explained to Mr Fetuani's unwell father in Tonga, the court was told.

Mr Fetuani is to appear for a case review hearing on 29 October.