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Police officer sexually assaulted two women he met through work, prosecutors say as trial begins

A senior police officer sexually assaulted two different women in 2002 and 2003 that he met while on the job, prosecutors said today as his trial began.

Northland Detective Inspector Kevin Burke has pleaded not guilty to two counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual violation against the two complainants.

A jury of five men and seven women will hear his case at the High Court in Auckland. 

Crown Prosecutor Jo Murdoch told the jury that the two complainants are unconnected to each other.

"The two complainants come from very different worlds and led very different lives.

"But the Crown says they have one thing in common; that Kevin Burke sexually assaulted them after they had put their trust and confidence in him as a police officer," she said in her opening remarks.

It’s alleged the first woman met Burke when she was reporting a crime.

Ms Murdoch says two weeks after that meeting, the police officer arrived at the woman’s house with a box of beer and a bottle of wine.

Burke allegedly became intoxicated, and the woman prepared the spare bedroom for him to stay the night.

It was at that point he forced himself onto the woman, holding her to the floor before sexually assaulting her, prosecutors allege.

The woman later told authorities she was “appalled” but didn’t report him as she “didn’t want to be a victim".

The second complainant said she met Burke following a domestic stabbing in 2002.

Burke was appointed as the officer in charge of the case, then allegedly sexually assaulted her months later.

Ms Murdoch explained that in August 2003, when the woman was set to appear at the Rotorua District Court, Burke visited her and her flatmate.

He turned up with paperwork, wine and pizza, Ms Murdoch said. 

After the woman drank wine, she said, she “extracted herself from the situation and ended up in bed".

Burke then allegedly came into the bedroom, got undressed and rubbed up and down against her.

There were three further occasions of sexual impropriety, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Arthur Fairley says the relationship between Burke and the first complainant was consensual, but that he never had sexual contact with the second complainant.

The trial is expected to last for two weeks.

NZ Court.
File picture. Source: rnz.co.nz