An elderly Christchurch man has been found guilty of sexually abusing two children as long ago as 1955.
Justice David Gendall also lifted name suppression on Sidney John Hurst, 77, as the eight-day jury trial ended in the High Court at Christchurch.
Hurst’s defence was that the memories of the two girls, who were now women, were wrong or had been reconstructed over the years because of their antipathy towards Hurst.
But after retiring to consider its verdicts for more than a day, the jury of 11 returned guilty verdicts on all eight charges on Wednesday. On one charge, it was a majority verdict, but the others were all unanimous.
Hurst stood impassive in the dock as the verdicts were read, but there were hugs and tears among people gathered in the public gallery.
The offending related to two girls – six charges involving one of them and two charges for the other – between 1955 and 1975. One woman told of offending as far back as 1955 and the other alleged offending dating back to 1967.
Some of the charges were so old they had to be brought under the 1908 Crimes Act rather than current legislation.
Hurst denied raping one of the girls when he was a teenager and repeatedly indecently assaulting both girls when one was aged up to 13 years and the other aged up to 14.
Crown prosecutor Deidre Orchard had told the jury the rape occurred when one of the women was aged five or six. The girl had not understood what happened at the time, but had since realised from her memories of the sights and movements that she must have been raped.
Justice Gendall remanded Hurst in custody for sentencing on June 14.