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Top solicitor accused of rape and violence - court

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:59 06 July 2010

Norwich-based solicitor Michael Hynes

Norwich-based solicitor Michael Hynes

A high flying Norfolk solicitor, who lived a secret life of drug taking, hid a "dark side" of sexual abuse against a young girl and also a carried out a series of violent attacks on a woman over a period of three years, a court heard yesterday.

A high flying Norfolk solicitor, who lived a secret life of drug taking, hid a “dark side” of sexual abuse against a girl and also a carried out a series of violent attacks on a woman over a period of three years, a court heard yesterday.

While overseeing contracts worth millions of pounds for well-known law firms, Norwich-based solicitor Michael Hynes, 46, developed a cocaine habit which cost £10,000 over one 12-month period alone.

During this time he allegedly groomed and raped the girl, often forcing her to take class A drugs. He is also accused of three separate attacks in which he beat a woman.

The court heard her ordeal only came to light when she was admitted to the Priory clinic suffering from depression.

Giving evidence over a video link, she told a jury she never consented to the abuse but was reluctant to come forward because he told her it was she who would “look like the bad person”.

Prosecutor Graham Parkins told Norwich Crown Court: “He was undeniably a hard-working solicitor but he had a dark side which he kept hidden for a long time.”

Hynes, of Upper Street, Salhouse, worked in commercial property law for internationally renowned London-based firm Simmons and Simmons before moving to Norfolk with Mills and Reeve and most recently with Howes Percival.

He was widely respected, having gained a first class law degree followed by a first class postgraduate degree from Cambridge. His clients included businesses with annual revenues close to £2bn.

Hynes denies three counts of raping the girl, three counts of sexual assault and five counts of sexual activity with a child. He also pleaded not guilty to three counts of actual bodily harm against a woman.

Mr Parkins said Hynes' respectable façade masked the reality of a man who began taking drugs, including ecstasy and cannabis, in 1996. During 2006 he paid £10,000 to a taxi driver who supplied him with cocaine.

“Whether or not his behaviour had any connection to drugs we cannot say, but it's certainly a factor of his life during the period we are concerned with,” Mr Parkins added.

His abuse began with touching but became more serious as the girl grew older. As well as forcing the victim to engage in sex against her will, Hynes forced her to take drugs. He would show her pornography, including images of children and extreme acts.

On one occasion the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was left gasping for air after he strangled her in a re-creation of a sex act. “I was terrified, very scared and shaken,” she said. “He was staring at me and he did not talk while he was doing it. I was kicking and struggling to breathe.”

She also recalled how she would “cry and say no” whenever he abused her.

She told the court he would belittle her: “He would tell me I should take drugs to improve my personality. He told me I wasn't very clever or attractive and I was boring. He would tell me I was a horrible person.”

Mr Parkins said: “He is a highly intelligent man. But he was also a very controlling man. Over a period of years he groomed and sexually abused the girl and subjected her to other humiliating acts which will remain unknown to anybody but them.”

The jury was presented with pictures of injuries suffered by the woman Hynes is alleged to have assaulted. He claims the woman faked the injuries using make-up.

The case is expected to last up to two weeks.

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