NZ: Judge orders retrial over alleged teen prostitution

By GLENN McLEAN – Taranaki Daily News

The trial of brothel owner Michael Hastie on charges of illegally using a 15-year-old girl as a prostitute has been abandoned.

Judge David Ongley ordered a retrial for Hastie near the end of the morning session in the New Plymouth District Court yesterday, but suppressed the details for his decision.

Hastie, 58, of New Plymouth, has denied charges of contracting a girl under 18 for sex, receiving earnings from the girl, unlawful sexual connection with a 15-year-old girl, attempting to assist a girl under 18 to provide commercial sexual services and supplying drugs.

The Crown alleges Hastie lured a 15-year-old girl from Wellington by pretending to be a 22-year-old surfer before repeatedly sleeping with her and enticing the teenager into prostitution and taking a cut of her earnings.

He is also alleged to have tried to prostitute the girl’s 15-year-old friend while she stayed with the couple during the Christmas school holidays in 2005.

Yesterday’s hearing was delayed for 90 minutes while the judge heard legal arguments in chambers.

When it resumed Hastie denied under cross-examination that he had hid in the bathroom when police came to his house searching for the complainant days after she went missing.

It was only after the police arrived, prosecutor Cherie Clarke said, that the accused contacted CYF about having the girl stay with him.

“I don’t know when it was,” Hastie said.

He then went on to tell the jury that he had arranged a church counsellor to see the complainant because she was suicidal.

Despite telling the court the day before he did not go to church, Hastie qualified his answer by saying he knew how the church system worked.

The trial ended abruptly after that, with Judge Ongley remanding Hastie on bail until July 22 for callover.

Original at Stuff, NZ

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