TODAY |

High tension as Arthur Allan Thomas returns to dock on sex charges

It’s been a tense week in courtroom two at the Manukau District Court.

The man wrongly convicted in one of NZ's most famous murder cases spoke out publicly for the first time in years in 2013. Source: 1 NEWS

An influential figure in New Zealand’s criminal history is on trial and there are court orders in place to protect his accusers.

Arthur Allan Thomas is defending five historical charges of sexual abuse – four of sexual assault and one of rape.

His name is well known in the law - Thomas received a royal pardon for the wrongful murder convictions of Jeanette and Harvey Crewe who were killed in their South Waikato home in 1970.

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The now 83-year-old is a key figure in our legal history, he was royally pardoned and compensated for wrongful conviction of the murders of Jeanette and Harvey Crew in 1970. Source: 1 NEWS

Thomas received compensation in 1979.

The Crewe murders remain unsolved.

Now the 83-year-old is back in court battling charges he denies.

He has appeared calm and composed sitting in the dock as the case against him has unfolded this week.

The two alleged victims are entitled to Statutory Protection of their identities due to the nature of the charges.

The strict suppression orders mean the dates, times and locations of the alleged offending cannot be reported.

Nor can some of the detailed evidence in case its reporting inadvertently reveals the complainants identity.

Their evidential police videos have been shown to the jury – each complainant spending a full day in the witness box giving evidence and under cross-examination.

The lawyers on both sides are experienced and meticulously well prepared.

Crown Prosecutor, Aaron Perkins QC, and defence lawyer, Marie Dyhrberg QC, sit at their respective benches - still, focused, surrounded by papers and files.

They listen carefully, taking notes, reviewing documents and listening some more.

Nothing escapes them – not a word, whisper or nuance.

It has been a fascinating week – with emotion and drama on display.

Human lives laid bare as the wheels of justice turn slowly, searching for the truth.

The drama will resume again on Monday.

The Crown’s case is drawing to a close leaving the defence to tell it’s side of the story next week.