Attackers on bonds in sex assault plea deal outrage
By Gemma Jones
The Daily Telegraph
March 31, 2010 12:00AM
THE now 17-year-old victim has clear memories of a night that will forever haunt her.
"I couldn't move," she said of a horrifying sexual assault by four teenage boys in 2008 after a football awards ceremony in a NSW country town. "When I started crying, (one of the attackers) said, 'What are you crying for, you sook?', or, 'Why are you crying, you sook?'."
Two of the accused are awaiting sentencing. The other two are on 18-month good behaviour bonds after a plea bargain deal with the Director of Public Prosecutions. Remarkably, her father is on a two-year bond for common assault after punching one of the accused.
The girl and her father both said they had felt pressured to agree to the plea deal - including an agreed statement of facts very different to the girl's initial police statement.
"They pressured us. They told us . . . they have barristers, they will really barrage you, the chances are you will lose the case," her father said. "They wore us down to accept the plea. They walked out of that court free as birds."
The 17-year-old's four attackers each pleaded guilty to aggravated indecent assault after prosecutors drew up the statement.
Part of the assault on the then 15-year-old, who was almost passed out drunk, was recorded by video on a mobile phone.
She was stripped naked and attacked in a bathroom by two of the teenagers.
The agreed statement focused on how much alcohol the victim had consumed and referred to the attack as "sexual activity". In stark contrast, her police statement was full of horrific descriptions, particularly of a separate attack on the same night in a bedroom by the other two teenagers, which she remembers clearly.
As she tried to fight them off to find her clothes, she ripped the door handle off in her desperation.
The young men were originally charged with a range of offences, including aggravated sexual assault, offender in company, aggravated sexual intercourse with a child and aggravated indecent assault.
Yesterday the shattered girl, who had to move from her own town because one of the attackers attended her school, said she was changed by the attack.
"I used to be so happy and go-lucky, I am just so depressed," she said.
Karen Willis from the NSW Rape Crisis Centre said the DPP should appeal against the good behaviour bonds.
Howard Brown from the Victims of Crime Assistance League said plea deals agreed to by the DPP were undermining the justice system.
"If they don't face the charges for what they have done, how do you call it a justice system?" Mr Brown said.
A spokeswoman for Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said he was unable to comment as two of the teens had yet to be sentenced.
The girl, her father, the accused rapists, the town, the judge and even any legal representatives cannot be identified in order to protect the victim's identity.
Socialism has always been about the welfare of the socialist ideology, never about the welfare of people.