Home » Guy Wallace, key witness in Sounds murders case, died days before trial on indecent assault charges
Guy Wallace, key witness in Sounds murders case, died days before trial on indecent assault charges
May 21, 2021
The key witness in the controversial Marlborough Sounds murders died suddenly a week before he was due to go on trial for alleged indecent assault on a girl under 16.
Guy Wallace, 55, died in March this year, with his death referred to the Coroner as a suspected suicide.
At the time of Wallace’s death, he was facing four charges of indecent assault against a young person and a trial was scheduled to start just days later.
The alleged offending happened between 2010 and 2013, according to Crown allegations.
Until today, the Herald has been unable to report the details of the alleged offending and trial because of heavy suppression orders.
After Wallace died, the Herald applied to have those orders revoked so the details of the charges against him could be reported.
Wallace had pleaded not guilty to the charges and elected a judge-alone trial, which was scheduled to begin at Blenheim District Court on March 29.
As the matter never went to trial, Wallace must be presumed innocent.
According to the summary of facts released to the Herald, the complainant was 13 when she was first allegedly indecently assaulted by Wallace between December 2010 and December 2011.
He was accused of putting his arm around her, placing a hand on her breasts, and cupping and squeezing them on the outside of her clothing when her mother was out of the room.
And between December 2011 and March 2013, when the girl was either 14 or 15, Wallace was alleged to have purchased a vibrator and put her down her top, despite her trying to pull away several times.
“But the defendant pulled her back toward the bed, telling her ‘no, let me’ in a forceful voice,” the summary of facts allege.
“After several attempts to move away, the complainant sat on the bed not moving.”
The third and fourth allegations came when the girl was aged 15 and he touched her breasts and undid her bikini top, causing one of her breasts to come free.
When he was spoken to by police, Wallace declined to comment.
Over New Year in 1997, Wallace was one of the last people to see Ben Smart, 21, and Olivia Hope, 17, alive.
The friends had been to a party at Furneaux Lodge and Wallace, employed to run a water taxi from the venue out to vessels where people were staying, dropped them at a boat in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
He gave evidence of another man being with them, although that man was never identified. The Crown contended it was Scott Watson.
Watson denied ever meeting the pair but was found guilty after a High Court trial of murdering both Ben and Olivia and dumping their bodies at sea.
Wallace picked Watson out of a photo lineup presented to him by police but later said the mystery man in the water taxi with the missing pair was not the man convicted in court.
The Herald launched legal action after Wallace’s death to try and lift suppression orders.
Lawyer Robert Stewart implored the judge to lift the suppression relating to Wallace.
He said the matter was one of public interest and open justice should prevail.
“The facts are that the defendant was charged with these offences and died before his guilt or otherwise could be established,” Stewart said.
“Permanently suppressing his name in connection with these charges will omit a significant and material piece of information about the defendant from entering the public domain.”
At a court hearing this week, District Court Judge David Ruth said the victim, now a woman, no longer objected to it Wallace’s name being revealed.
And in a judgment released today, the judge ruled that the charges Wallace faced at the time of his death, and some of the allegations relating to the charges, could now be reported.