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Judge irked by cruising and hook-up questioning

Wed 6 Apr 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Ihaia Gillman-Harris In a line of questioning which drew repeated warnings from the judge a defense lawyer this morning attempted to question a witness regarding the cruising and hook-up habits of Ihaia Gillman-Harris, the gay man who died after being severely beaten up in an Epsom, Auckland, motel in late December 2014. Beauen Wallace-Loretz and Leonard Nattrass-Bergquist are on trial for murder with the defence claiming the attack was a reaction to an alleged sexual assault by Gillman-Harris. The crown claims the attack and robbery were premeditated and planned beforehand by text message. During defense questioning Detective Constable Tania Turner, one of the police team which investigated the case, acknowledged that other than a receipt for a stay in a Queen Street hotel unit she had not been able to find any evidence of Gillman-Harris having a permanent residence. His mail was received at an inner-city Post Office box and he had goods and vehicles in several storage lockers around the city. Turner said it appeared to her that Gillman-Harris had been living out of his Range Rover as she had found pajamas, a toilet bag, a shopping bag, condiments and kitchen utensils in the car's boot. Asked if she had become aware that Gillman-Harris was in the habit of driving around Auckland “speaking to young window-washers and offering them money,” Turner was unable to answer before the judge intervened, warning Nattrass-Bergquist's lawyer Murray Gibson not to invite answers based on inadmissible hearsay testimony. Gibson then asked Turner if an email presented in court indicated that Gillman-Harris had in the days leading up to the attack been texting or even in some kind of relationship with a man who was known to sleep rough but whom she had been unable to track down. The judge several times, and increasingly testily, repeated his warning regarding hearsay evidence. In his opening statement on Monday Gibson characterised Gillman-Harris as a “predator” who had thrown Nattrass-Bergquist onto a motel bed and sexually assaulted him after the young man had taken exception to a pornographic video Gillman-Harris allegedly played on his laptop. An ESR forensic scientist also gave evidence this morning regarding extensive damage to the laptop and the nature of the many blood stains found in the motel room where the attack took place. She was of the opinion that many of the stains were made by a bloodied object or objects coming into contact with the surfaces.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 6th April 2016 - 1:43pm

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