Defence Force pursuing costs from sex assault case ‘unjust’ – Andrew Little

Morning Talk 23/11/2018
Photo: Newshub.

Acting Defence Minister Andrew Little is seeking advice on how to ensure that the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) doesn’t pursue costs against a sexual assault victim.

The High Court ruled it's highly likely Mariya Taylor suffered assault and abuse at the hands of former Air Force (RNZAF) sergeant Robert Roper in the 1980s, including being locked in a tyre cage, prodded with an iron bar, and rubbed against and groped during car rides.

But her case can't be heard because the statute of limitations has run out, and now the NZDF and Roper are seeking court costs of more than $200,000 from her.

“There is clearly something unfair and unjust about this,” Mr Little told RadioLIVE on Friday.

The minister says the pursuing of legal costs likely came down to lawyers deferring to “legal technicalities” of losing a High Court case.

“I think what happens sometimes is that the legal technicalities take over,” Mr Little said.

 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Stuff that her "personal expectation" was that the NZDF would not collect the court fees from Ms Taylor.

The NZDF refuses to comment while the matter is before the courts.

If you have witnessed or experienced sexual harassment or assault and would like to speak to someone, you could call the HELP support service.

  • Auckland: (09) 623 1700 or visit
  • Wellington: (04) 801 6655 or visit

Other places to find help and support:

  • Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email or online chat
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Listen to the full interview with Andrew Little above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.