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Air Force abuse survivor challenges compensation ruling

Jonathan Mitchell, Journalist

A woman who was sexually harassed in the Air Force by a sergeant is trying to over-turn a High Court ruling that denied her compensation.

sign for RNZAF Base
Auckland Whenuapai

Mariya Taylor was abused by Robert Roper at the Whenuapai base. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Mariya Taylor was abused by Robert Roper at the Whenuapai base in the 1980s.

Last year, Justice Edwards ruled the claim for compensation had been brought too late.

The judge also ruled ACC laws prevented anyone suing for damages over an injury they could get an ACC payment for.

Lawyers representing Ms Taylor are in the Court of Appeal trying to overturn that ruling.

Graeme Little SC said his client was terrified of Roper.

"She flew to the other side of the world to get away from him," he told the court today.

Mr Little said when Ms Taylor left the Air Force she was a "psychological wreck."

She was also "sad, depressed and angered at the Air Force," he said.

Mr Little said she was trying forget her experience when she went overseas.

"Attempting to block it out," he said.

Roper was jailed for 13 years in 2014 for sexual offending against five girls in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr Little said that provided a trigger for Ms Taylor to speak up about her past abuse.

The case before Justice French, Justice Brown and Justice Clifford is set down for two days.


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