Allegations of Abuse in NZ

peterellis Home / abuse allegations /

David Somerfield: Hawera man accused by ex-partner


This page last updated Dec 8 2008

There is a real and concerning possibility of a miscarriage of justice in this case.

The case is another example where the laws of New Zealand allow a conviction based merely on the word of the complainant. In this case the accused claimed the evidence against him was totally fabricated.  There is little to suggest that this claim is without merit.

The case is based on the word of the complainant. She did make claims of the accused burning her. A doctor provided evidence that she had scars “consistent” with burning - Evidence that does not rule out other reasons for the scars, or prove that Somerfield caused the injuries.

The case also hinges upon the woman’s daughter kissing her grandfather and putting her tongue in his mouth - supposedly something that she has learned to do from Somerfield.


26 November 26 - Sentencing

Somerfield was sentenced on counts of sexual violation, indecent assault, injuring with intent, doing an indecent act and assaulting a female. He was sentenced to jail for four years.

Judge Allan Roberts said Somerfield's behaviour had been unbelievable and he was left in no doubt that it had a serious impact on the woman and her child  Judge Roberts also revealed Somerfield's new partner, who was in court along with other family members, was now expecting a child

Crying as he entered the dock, Somerfield then stood defiantly as the court heard again of the accusations

Defence counsel Kylie Pascoe said Somerfield intended to appeal the verdicts. The defence argued the accusations were totally fabricated.

8 October - Trial - Guilty Verdict

David Somerfield was found guilty on six of ten charges of sexual and physical assaults. As the verdicts were delivered, he shook his head

7 October 2008 - Trial Day 2

The complainant admitted that she had exaggerated in a statement to police that she had been assaulted "most" days she had lived with Somerfield but denied she was inventing evidence.

Dr Tineke Iversen, a doctor who examined the complainant gave evidence of burn marks and bruises on the woman's body. She said she found scars consistent with burn marks on the woman, as well as bruises on her legs and arms, shortly after she had left Somerfield.

The father of the complainant was shocked by his granddaughter putting her tongue in his mouth when he asked for a kiss

During a police interview, the accused denied most of the allegations and said the physical attacks were only part of playfighting.

6 October 2008 - Trial Day 1

David Somerfield denies charges of assaulting a female, injuring with intent, assaulting a child, sexual conduct with a child aged under 12, indecent assault and sexual violation

Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich says Somerfield and the alleged victim decided to meet in a North Island town after "chatting" on the internet last year. Several days after they met face-to-face they moved in together, along with the woman's baby daughter. Weeks later Somerfield started physically, mentally and sexually abusing the woman and her child. Included in the allegations were that Somerfield burned her with a lighter, kneed her in the body and forced her to do sexual acts. Somerfield is also accused of simulating sex with the two-year-old girl and making the child do a sexual act to him.

Defence counsel Paul Keegan says the woman's accusations are totally fabricated.

The complainant admitted burning one of the diaries she had kept during their relationship and assaulting the accused by slapping him in the face after they argued about how much money he had lost on the pokie machines



Link to reports
(Members Code 318)


2008-1126 - Taranaki Daily News - Man jailed after abusing woman

2008-1127 - Taranaki Daily News - Internet predator jailed for sex abuse

2008-1127 - One News - Court jails Internet abuser

2008-1009 - Taranaki Daily News - Jury finds Hawera man guilty of sexual abuse

2008-1008 - Taranaki Daily News - Alleged victim had scars on her legs and arms

2008-1007 - Taranaki Daily News - Internet hook-up goes wrong