The trial on 88 charges alleging drink-spiking, sexual assaults, drug supply, and making intimate visual recording, could last up to four months. Photo / Google Maps
Open Justice multimedia journalist, ChristchurchVIEW PROFILE
Four defendants, 38 complainants, and 88 charges - a trial on allegations of drink-spiking and sexual assault has been delayed for six months.
The jury trial in the Christchurch District Court is scheduled to run for three months, but the prosecutor Andrew McRae has signalled that it might go for four.
McCrae is the Timaru Crown prosecutor who is handling the massive case which involves the central Christchurch restaurant and bar that was known as Mama Hooch.
The trial had been scheduled to begin on August 15 but pre-trial sessions at the Christchurch courts in May decided that the start date should be delayed to February 1, 2023.
The reasons for the delay are suppressed.
Reporting of the trial delay was also not allowed until today, to enable complainants and witnesses to be told before the details appeared in the media.
The prosecution surfaced in November 2018 when three men were arrested after police investigated about 20 complaints from women who allege their drinks were spiked at Mama Hooch. Some of the women alleged they had been sexually assaulted at other locations.
The men aged 33, 34 and 36 were granted name suppression at the time. They faced a range of charges: supplying MDMA (ecstasy), stupefying and sexually violating a women, making an intimate visual recording, and possession of an objectionable publication.
More charges were laid in 2019 and a fourth man was charged. The new charges dated from July 2015 to November 2018, and included offering to supply MDMA, stupefying 10 people, indecently assaulting two women, and sexual violation of one woman.
The four men were granted continued name suppression.
McCrae confirmed this week that no complainants had dropped out because of the delay to the trial. He said the Crown charging document now listed 88 charges involving 38 complainants.