'Far fetched' for complainants to lie about Arthur Thomas' sex offending, jury told

Author
Miriam Burrell, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Jun 2021, 1:29PM
Arthur Allan Thomas is on trial for historical sex offending at Manukau District Court. (Photo / File)
Arthur Allan Thomas is on trial for historical sex offending at Manukau District Court. (Photo / File)

'Far fetched' for complainants to lie about Arthur Thomas' sex offending, jury told

Author
Miriam Burrell, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Jun 2021, 1:29PM

The historical sex offending trial of Arthur Allan Thomas has been described as "chalk and cheese" compared to his trials for theĀ 1970 Crewe murders, of which he was wrongfully convicted then awarded compensation.

"Just because someone has been wrongfully convicted does not mean on a completely different proceeding he cannot be rightfully convicted," Crown prosecutor Aaron Perkins QC has told a jury today.

Closing arguments are being made in Thomas' trial for four charges of indecent assault and one of rape after two complainants came forward to police in 2019.

It's "perfectly understandable" for the jury to have sympathy for a person who has been wrongfully convicted, Perkins said, but urged them to "put any natural feelings" to one side.

"Being responsible for what he did to them, the sexual offences, is an entirely different thing to innocence on murder charges," he told the jury.

It is "far fetched" to suggest the two complainants have made the allegations up and gave evidence in court to commit perjury, he said.

"All they wanted was an apology, a meaningful one ... that was all they were after."

A petition calling for Thomas to receive a formal apology from police for his wrongful convictions explains why the women decided to come forward to police in 2019, Perkins said.

"As far as the complainants are concerned, here is this petition for an apology...but where is their apology?"

The court has heard evidence from a man who claimed to be involved in the alleged offending.

The man and one complainant allege Thomas enticed them to engage in sexual acts while he watched.

"It is fanciful to suggest that man was lying about the role being played by Mr Thomas in those activities," Perkins said.

"He remembers what Thomas did... including incredibly sensitive and intimate details.

"Of course it's true."

A second complainant alleges Thomas touched her inappropriately without her consent, and forced her to touch him inappropriately.

Defence counsel claims the women came forward "out of spite" for not receiving part of Thomas' compensation, Perkins said.

Much of the details of the offending have been heavily suppressed, such as when and where it took place, to protect the identities of the complainants.

Closing arguments will be made by Thomas' lawyer Marie Dyhrberg QC before Judge John Bergseng will sum up the case to the jury at Manukau District Court.

Thomas was twice found guilty of the murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe, who were shot dead in their Pukekawa farmhouse in June 1970 and dumped in the Waikato River.

Harvey and Jeanette Crewe were shot dead in their Pukekawa farmhouse in June 1970. (Photo / Supplied)

A 1980 Royal Commission of Inquiry found that a cartridge case in the Crewes' garden - said to have come from a rifle belonging to Thomas - was planted at the scene by detectives.

Thomas was granted a royal pardon and awarded $950,000 in compensation, after spending nine years behind bars.

The Crewe murders remain unsolved