Back to the news list Seasonal workers accused of rape
30 June 2020 - Media Release - Stuff NZ
Two seasonal workers have been jointly accused of raping a woman in the early hours of New Year's Day.

The two Tongan men, who cannot be named, were orchard workers in Motueka under the Recognised Employer Scheme at the time of the alleged offence, but have since moved to Marlborough for work.

They had their first appearance on the charge at the Blenheim District Court on Monday with the help of an interpreter, as their lawyer Marcus Zintl said they did not speak "a word of English".

Zintl asked for the case to be remanded without pleas. He said he expected a long remand would be needed to discuss the charge and the court process with his clients given the communication difficulties.

He also sought name suppression, saying the men had not yet told their families they had been charged.

Their work visas were due to expire in September, but Zintl said the visas were likely to be extended.

Police did not oppose bail or interim name suppression, but did seek a curfew as the alleged offence was said to have happened after midnight, or early on January 1.

Both men were "teetotallers", so there was no need for a bail condition preventing them from drinking, Zintl said.

Judge Richard Russell remanded the men to reappear on August 10, on bail with a curfew from 9pm to 5.30am.

He ordered them to surrender their passports to the court, and banned them from contacting the woman, or travelling to Tasman unless for work.

He also granted interim name suppression, to be reviewed at their next appearance.

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