Allegations of Abuse in NZ
2007: Neville Collins - Boys Brigade leader
This page last updated July 29 2007
Neville Collins was found Guilty in July 2007 of sex
offences against six boys in the 1980s and 1990s. Four of the complainants
alleged abuse at Boys Brigade camps where Collins was a leader. The other two
were befriended when he was working as a security guard and at St John.
· The charges were historical in nature and categorically denied by Collins. Historical charges are particularly difficult to defend when no evidence other than the claims of the complainants are sufficient to convict.
· Collins had argued, unsuccessfully to not have the complaints joined into a single trial. Other Western justice systems, do not allow this to occur, because of the greater risk of a miscarriage of justice.
· The effect of a joint trial was probably significant, with the Crown claiming that it made it difficult “for the sinister patterns of his offending to be ignored”. While such a claim is undoubtedly true if he were guilty, it is simply prejudicial if he were innocent.
· The Crown claim that six complainants making up allegations against Collins was "so remote as to be ridiculous", is a powerful argument to a jury, who are unlikely to have much knowledge of false allegations. The number of complainants do make the complaint more credible, but the possibility of a number of complainants being wrong is not a ridiculous possibility.