Acting students conspired against teacher - defence

6:38 pm on 8 December 2016

The defence counsel for an actor facing sex charges has argued four students conspired together because they were embarrassed about kissing their teacher.

The actor and drama coach - who cannot be named - has pleaded not guilty in the Auckland District Court to 12 charges, including 10 of indecent assault and two of unlawful sexual connection.

One complainant, who was 21 at the time, said the actor used training exercises that involved kissing to perform sexual acts on her, without her consent, and eventually asked her to perform an act on him.

She said the touching progressed over time, while at the same time her trust in him developed.

Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield argued she was an aggrieved lover seeking revenge after finding out the accused was seeing other women.

He questioned the length of time it took for her to go to the police and highlighted that she deleted her texts and emails before doing so.

The student said she was prompted to go to the police after hearing the accused was still teaching.

Mr Mansfield told the court the relationship between the pair began as a student/teacher relationship that became a friendship and then romantic.

He argued the woman willingly participated in the exercises, and told the court she must have had enough confidence to want to model and act.

Under cross-examination, the student said she ended the relationship when she realised she was being psychologically, emotionally and sexually abused.

She said she did not realise it was assault at the time, because she thought he had her best interests at heart.

The second of four complainants, who was 20 at the time, said the accused told her she was special and needed one on one sessions, which he asked her to keep secret.

She said during warm-up sessions - called push me/pull me - he progressed from kissing her lightly, to deeper kisses and eventually touching her breasts and genitals.

She said after this she felt uncomfortable and stopped going to his classes.