Verdicts released in Laken Rose child sex abuse trial

A High Court judge has found horse trainer Laken Rose guilty on nearly all of the child sex charges she was facing.

On the remaining charges, Justice Matthew Muir found Rose not guilty.

She was convicted on the charges she was found guilty of and remanded in custody for sentencing on February 27, 2021.

She was found not guilty on three charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and two charges of possessing objectional material.

Justice Muir heard disturbing evidence over a two week period during the trial of Rose in the High Court at Hamilton last month.

Justice Muir watched video footage of girls as young as 3 being violated, read text messages where children are discussed in sexually explicit terms, and listened to the evidence of the woman on trial.

Rose pleaded not guilty to 50 charges of sexual violation, indecently assaulting children under 12, making objectionable publications, possessing objectionable material and inducing young persons to commit indecent acts.

The charges against Rose relate to four girls aged between 3 and 14 at various locations including Palmerston North, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty over a five-year period.

She admitted 10 charges of inducing a young person to commit an indecent act, in relation to the 14-year-old complainant.

Rose’s defence to most of the remaining 50 charges she faced was that she was compelled to participate under duress by her former partner Andrew Alan Williams.

54-year-old Williams pleaded guilty to 56 charges at the start of the trial last month.

Those charges relate to seven victims and includ eight of rape, along with a raft of charges for sexually violating young girls, indecently assaulting children under 12, making objectionable publications, possessing objectionable material and inducing young persons to commit indecent acts.

Crown prosecutor Anna Pollett, of Tauranga, said Rose and Williams acted together in a “joint enterprise” to groom young girls for sexual offending.

Pollett said Justice Muir could consider Rose’s evidence as “implausible” given the weight of the conflicting evidence gathered by the police.

Phillip Morgan QC said his client could not be considered a party to the sexual abuse committed by Williams, as the Crown could not prove Rose’s intention was to encourage her partner.

“She’s not there to aid him, or encourage him, she’s there because that’s what [Williams] has decreed,” he told the judge during his summing up.

In the case of the indecent act and sexual violation charges laid in respect to the 14-year-old girl, Morgan said the defence was consent.

Rose’s evidence was she had told the girl of Williams’ sexual interest, as well as his violence, and so the teenager agreed to participate in the sexual acts.

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