Find woman not guilty, jury told 22 May 2012
An Invercargill District Court judge yesterday took the rare step of directing a jury to find a woman not guilty, after it was revealed in court the woman’s daughter may have lied about allegations she had made against her mother. The woman, who has permanent name suppression, faced five charges of assaulting a child and two of assault with a weapon. Her jury trial started yesterday before Judge Kevin Phillips. The Crown had alleged the woman had assaulted her son and daughter, both aged under 10 years at the time, between August 2003 and February 2010. In her opening address, Crown prosecutor Emma Riddell said the boy said in his evidential video interview his mother had hit him with a belt so hard his back had bled. He also spoke of his mother smashing his sister’s head into a wall, making it bleed, and leaving a dent in the wall, she said. However, defence lawyer Kate McHugh said in her brief opening statement the defence case was that the allegations were untrue and the children had made the story up because they wanted to live with their father.