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Police receive overseas calls in relation to Kaitaia case

Police receive several overseas calls in relation to Kaitaia case

Police have received several calls and emails from around the world following the appeal for any potential victims to come forward after the court appearance of a Kaitaia man yesterday.

Michael Harris, aged 56 years, appeared in the Kaitaia District Court on 39 charges including:

• Aggravated Wounding (drugging of a victim to facilitate an indecent assault)
• Making of intimate visual recordings
• Possession of intimate visual recordings
• Indecent Assault

Harris has been remanded in custody to appear again on September 18.

These charges relate to 16 adult male victims who stayed at the Main Street Lodge in Kaitaia. They are mostly overseas tourists aged between 18 and 25.

Detective Senior Sergeant Rhys Johnston says potential victims who have contacted Police are German, English, Scottish, American and New Zealanders.
“Callers are concerned about whether something has happened to them and we want to be able to provide these potential victims with the right support as well as gather the evidence necessary.”

Mr Johnston says Victim Support has been contacted to assist police in offering the victims the support they need.
Police have set up a 0800 number and an email address so that potential victims can get in touch and Mr Johnston is encouraging people to come forward. Police particularly want to speak with anyone who stayed in the owner’s residence of the Main Street Lodge during the past two and a half years.

“However, we would like to hear from anyone else who believes they may have been a victim.”

“I want to reassure tourists and our local residents that we have a person in custody and are carrying out a thorough investigation. The community has trust and confidence in the local police and know complaints will be taken seriously and police will do something about it.
The local community welcomes and values the many tourists it gets in the Far North. These are very unusual allegations and we will not let them impact on the reputation of a region known for being a favourite destination for overseas visitors.”

Potential victims or anyone with information relating to the case can call 0800 SNAP01 (0800 762 701) or email operationsnap@police.govt.nz

ends

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