“Some type of hate.”
That’s what aspiring Formula One racing driver Faine Kahia believed led him to a police interview room in December 2016 to answer allegations he had sex with a drunken teenager while she was asleep.
Kahia is on trial at the Rotorua District Court accused of one charge of sexual connection with a 15-year-old, offending that is alleged to have taken place in Taupo between May 6 and May 7 in 2016.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment.
On day one of a trial scheduled to last three days the jury of ten women and two men were shown a DVD of an interview with Kahia and now retired Detective Steve Lockett.
Kahia had a theory as to why the allegation had been levelled against him.
“They’re lying, manipulative, immature girls that are targeting me and I feel it’s because of some type of hate,” he said.
He admitted sexual intercourse had taken place, but throughout the one hour interview he consistently denied he knew the complainant was under age, or that he had forced himself on her while she was asleep.
“I’m not dumb enough to do something with a girl that’s had alcohol,” he said.
“I actually verbally asked her did she want to, she said yes. One hundred per cent consent.”
Kahia said he arrived at the girls house after being invited by a friend who was present, and while he maintained he kept a low key presence, said he felt “a vibe, a hint” she was attracted to him.
He also claimed that at one point while sitting on a sofa with the girl she unbuckled his belt and placed her hand inside his trousers.
At one point he said she had spent the night following him “with her tail wagging”.
He said they shared a bed and while they had kissed, sexual intercourse only occurred the following morning, and with her full consent.
Crown prosecutor Anna McConachy, however, began her opening address painting a different picture of that night’s events, saying Kahia had made no attempt to ascertain her age, and that he forced himself on her while she slept.
Kahia’s lawyer Warren Pyke conceded intercourse did take place – and that the victim was 15-years-old at the time.
He also said his client believed she was of a legal age, and that the issue before the jury was “how that sex occurred and when that sex occurred”.
“That’s a firm point for the defence, she wasn’t asleep, she consented.”
After the opening addresses the alleged victim – who was in tears before entering the witness stand – began giving her evidence with a support person sitting behind her.
Under questioning from McConachy she revealed it had been the first night her parents had left her home alone, and she had invited friends over.
More friends arrived – one bringing Kahia – and alcohol was consumed.
On a scale of one-to-ten for intoxication, ten being the highest, she estimated being at eight.
She said she went to her parents’ bed to sleep. Kahia and a female and male friend followed and she asked them to leave.
She said Kahia stayed – and she told the court her next memory was waking up to find him digitally penetrating her.
Unable to stay awake, she said he fell asleep again, only to wake later and find “him having sex with me”.
When questioned by Pyke, she replied no numerous times.
Did she find him attractive? Did she want to have sex? Did she touch his penis? Had she attempted to remove his belt earlier in the evening?
She did reply yes when asked if they had texted after the alleged assault.
“You didn’t say anything, tell him off,” Pyke said.
“No. I was too scared.”
He also pressed the witness on whether, thanks to the alcohol, she could be sure of her recollections of that night, and whether her claims were in part to deflect any trouble she might get in from her parents who had insisted on no alcohol on that night.
She elaborated further under later questioning from McConachy.
Did she attempt to remove the belt?
“It’s not what I’m like and with my best friend sitting next to me.”
“I was too scared not to reply, of what he would do if I didn’t reply.”
Was she sure she didn’t want sex that night?
Yes, because “it was such a big thing to me”.
“I didn’t know him and I’m not like that.”
After Kahia’s interview was played, brief questions were put to Lockett, before McConachy said that completed the Crown evidence.
Pyke said the defence would present no evidence.
Trial judge Tony Snell then sent the jury home ahead of closing addresses on Tuesday.