Sex ac­cusers’ mem­o­ries dis­torted, says de­fence

Nelson Mail - - NEWS -

A man on trial for al­leged sex­ual in­de­cen­cies over a decade ago says his two ac­cusers have re­mem­bered wrongly.

Colin Robert Wil­liams, 49, ap­peared yes­ter­day in the Christchurch District Court on eight charges of in­de­cent as­sault on a girl un­der 12 years old, five charges of in­de­cent as­sault on a girl be­tween 12 and 16 years old, un­law­ful sex­ual con­nec­tion, in­duc­ing an in­de­cent act by threat, and in­de­cent as­sault on a fe­male over 16.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Kathy Basire said the two com­plainants al­leged Wil­liams of­fended against them be­tween 1989 and 2003.

The first vic­tim said she was in­de­cently as­saulted twice, and the other vic­tim said the of­fend­ing oc­curred over many years.

Basire said Wil­liams ad­mit­ted he had a ma­jor al­co­hol and drug prob­lem dur­ing some of the years the of­fend­ing was al­leged to have hap­pened.

De­fence coun­sel Tim Fournier said an ex­pert wit­ness would give ev­i­dence about how mem­ory works, and would say peo­ple could re­mem­ber things that had not hap­pened to them.

A mem­ory that was wrong did not be­have any dif­fer­ently from a mem­ory that was right, he said. Mem­o­ries were dis­torted, de­graded, and di­min­ished over time, and could be in­flu­enced by be­ing re­told.

The de­fence was not say­ing either of the woman were ly­ing, or mak­ing up the of­fend­ing. They be­lieved what they were go­ing to tell the jury, but it was wrong and un­re­li­able, and the of­fend­ing did not hap­pen, he said.

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