Sentencing begins for owner of Northland lodge who drugged, spooned and took photos of guests


The sentencing is underway for the owner of the Kaitaia backpackers lodge who drugged, spooned and took photographs of his young male visitors.

The victim says he felt 'dirty and gross' after being attacked by Michael Harris, whose sentencing today was delayed.
Source: 1 NEWS

Michael Harris offended against at least 14 tourists, most of them Europeans, over a space of 10 years while at the Mainstreet Lodge in Kaitaia.

Harris' lawyer Doug Blackie told the High Court at Whangarei his client wasn't climbing into bed with the men for sexual gratification but he wanted to feel closer to them.

Mr Blackie says Harris had a rough upbringing and was raised by his brother who was four years older then him.

The Kaitaia lodge owner arrested for indecent assault is one of a string of cases for the region.
Source: 1 NEWS

He said Harris would often climb into bed and cuddle with his brother and suggests that Harris was trying to recreate those moments with his victims.

Harris was arrested in 2014 after two German backpackers became suspicious and went to the police.

He pleaded guilty shortly before he was due to stand trial against the charges last year.

He's been in custody ever since.

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