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'I believe I was drugged’ — At rich lister's Auckland trial, witness details sex assault allegation

A man has told the court today that he believed a prominent Kiwi businessman drugged him before indecently assaulting him.

Auckland High Court (file). Source: istock.com

Today is day three of the businessman’s trial at the High Court in Auckland. The rich lister faces three charges of indecent assault and two charges of attempting to dissuade a witness from giving evidence.

His manager faces one charge of attempting to dissuade a witness.

Both men, who have pleaded not guilty to all charges, have been granted name suppression.

Crown prosecutor Simon Foote and the businessman's defence lawyer, David Jones. Source: NZME Pool

One complainant told the court today he approached the businessman for funding in 2008.

“When I was asking friends and supporters of my work if they had any ideas of where I could raise money, one person suggested I approach [the businessman],” he told the court.

He said he was dropped off at the rich lister’s house by his partner.

After being served gin and tonic, the man said the businessman told him he was staying for dinner.

“It wasn’t a question, it was an instruction,” he told the court.

The complainant described the dinner as “strange”.

“[The businessman was] asking me questions about my partner, how long we had been together, my sexuality.”

Later that evening the man said he started feeling unwell.

“I was beginning to feel dizzy; I was beginning to feel nauseous; I was starting to feel like I had less control over my body,” he said.

“I believed that I had been drugged.”

He said the businessman moved behind him, put his hand on his backside, squeezed it and whispered, "God, you have such a sweet ass."

“I just froze there,” he told the court.

“Then he started to kiss the back of my neck and said, ‘Why does there have to be a [name of partner].'”

Justice Geoffrey Venning is presiding over the trial; the crown is expected to call 20 witnesses. Source: NZME Pool

He initially did not lay a police complaint until he heard from a friend in 2017 that the businessman had been charged with assault.

“I thought it was the right thing for me to do.”

Defence lawyer David Jones questioned how much the man had to drink that evening, and suggested he had added details to his testimony in the years since.

Jones asked the man if he felt unwell due to the amount of food and alcohol he consumed.

The man said "no".

He also suggested the man's allegations were made up.

"I don't make up stories," the complainant responded.

The court heard from another complainant on Friday, who described his meeting with the businessman as a “pursuit”.

“There was the smell of the hunt... It felt like a pursuit and each step he’s there,” he told the court.

That complainant alleged the businessman assaulted him following a three-course dinner at the rich lister’s home.

The trial continues.