A wealthy and prominent New Zealand businessman facing indecent assault and corruption charges will stand trial over the allegations in February.

It will be four years since the man was charged with indecent assault in February 2017.

He has been on bail since then and neither he, nor his two co-accused, were required to appear in the High Court at Auckland today as the case was called for a brief administrative hearing.

Since being charged with sexual assaulting a man in 2008, the businessman was further accused of the same crime against a second man in 2016.

He was also later charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice for allegedly trying to dissuade the second complainant from giving evidence at his trial.

The two corruption charges were laid alongside one charge against the businessman’s manager and three counts against a well-known entertainer.

All three accused, who continue to have interim name suppression, were represented in court this morning by lawyers, David Jones QC, Rachael Reed QC and Barbara Hunt.

A High Court trial was to have been held in June this year, but it was abandoned because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The trial will now be held in February. Justice Sally Fitzgerald today also scheduled another administrative hearing next month.

The three men had faced an initial jury trial in the Auckland District Court during March last year. But it was aborted by Judge Russell Collins after nearly two weeks of evidence, the reasons for which remain suppressed.

After opposition by the Herald and Stuff, all three accused men had their appeals for continued name suppression dismissed last year, but their identities will stay hidden for now to “protect fair trial rights”.

Two witnesses, who are expected to give evidence for the Crown in the trial, have also had their name suppression appeals dismissed.

The duo, however, still can’t be named without risk of identifying the businessman and have been granted immunity from prosecution by the Solicitor-General.

A well-known political figure – whose name is suppressed and has not been charged – may also give evidence for the Crown.

Original Source