A prominent Whakatane man accused of 13 assaults on his wife, including one when she was 37 weeks pregnant and had to undergo an emergency caesarian, began in Tauranga District Court on Monday.

Adrian Hilterman, 55, whose occupation is subject to a suppression order, has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges of assaulting a female, one of assault with a weapon and two of injuring with intent.

The offences are alleged to have occurred between 1998 and July last year and involve kicking, pushing, grabbing and shaking his doctor wife Deborah, pulling her hair and chasing her around their home with a fish filleting knife.

The court was told that Dr Hilterman made a formal complaint to police in August last year, the day her husband moved out of the family home.

Under questioning from crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch, she said she did not report the violent incidents at the time because she was scared of the repercussions and did not want her husband to lose his job.

Pilditch said some of the assaults left injuries that were visible for days.

Dr Hilterman said that in December 2000, when she was expecting their second child, she challenged her husband why he was late home one night. He got angry and pushed her to the floor so hard that it caused an erupted placenta and she had to undergo an emergency caesarian operation next day.

The same month he had also grabbed her by the upper arms and shaken her violently.

The court was told that the assaults began a few weeks before they married, when she was kicked in the upper thigh after Hilterman used his knees to pin her to the floor.

But in his opening address, defence counsel Paul Mabey QC said there were two sides to every story with allegations of this kind and Hilterman’s defence was that he never once assaulted his wife.

The court is expected to hear evidence from 22 witnesses.