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Man accused of indecent assault at Labour Party summer camp 'caught in political storm' - lawyer

A young man accused of multiple incident assaults at a Labour Party summer camp in 2018 is “caught up in a political storm”, according to his lawyer.

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The defendant was “caught up in a political storm”, his lawyer said. Source: 1 NEWS

The man, who has name suppression, has pleaded not guilty to the five charges of indecent assault that are alleged to have taken place on 11 February at a Waihi event.

Crown lawyer David Johnstone said the accused was “very drunk” on the night of the alleged incidents.

“[He] assaulted four different young people. Two females, two males, one of those males twice,” Mr Johnstone said.

“The next morning [he] issued various apologies for his behaviour, but he added he couldn't remember much about what happened.

“Perhaps this trial is what it takes to fill in the remaining gaps for him.”

It’s alleged the defendant put his hand down the pants of two young men, grabbing their genitals.

Another woman alleges he kissed and licked her neck up to her face, while the second woman was allegedly groped.

But defence lawyer Emma Priest says her client’s actions “were not criminal at all”, and much of what is alleged “either didn’t happen or has been exaggerated”.

“[Is he a] sexual offender, or young man at a party caught up in a political storm?” she asked. 

The accused has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The trial is expected to last the week.