Great uncle of victim sentenced over sexual assault crimes
Date:Apr 12, 2019
In many sexual assault cases, the perpetrator is often known to the victim - whether through relation or acquaintance. As the below case demonstrates, these people often use this personal relationship to take advantage of a vulnerable individual, and as such, the results can be especially damaging and long-lasting.
Background of the case
The complainant was born on July 24, 1997. From the age of two and a half until 12, she lived with her great aunt, who was the sister of the respondent's wife. The young girl stayed with the respondent's family on a regular basis, for respite care. She slept in the same bed as the respondent when she stayed at the house.
On February 23, 2010, the complainant gave birth to a child when she was 12 years of age. After delivery, the young girl provided police with accounts of the males with whom she had, or may have had sexual intercourse with at the time of conception. However, DNA evidence revealed that it was 2.3 billion times more likely that the baby's father was the respondent, who was in effect, the mother's great uncle.
At the original hearing in July 2018, the respondent was sentenced to imprisonment of seven years with a non-parole period of four years.
In September 2018, the Crown issued the respondent with a Notice of Appeal, stating the original sentence was significantly inadequate for the crimes which he had committed.
What were the reasons for the Crown's argument?
The Crown alleged there were a number of sentencing errors including, but not limited to:
- Failure to properly undertake an assessment of the seriousness of the offence.
- Affording excessive weight to the respondent's subjective circumstances.
- Error in finding that the seriousness of the offence was higher than originally decided.
What did the Court of Criminal Appeal decide?
After reviewing evidence in relation to the girl's young age, the severity of the crime and the respondent's morals, the Court of Criminal Appeal felt that the original sentence was not as serious as it should have been.
As a result, the appeal was allowed and the respondent was sentenced to nine years imprisonment with a non-parole period of five years.
In the state of NSW, it's never too late to come forward with a sexual assault case. Here at Gerard Malouf & Partners, we're trained to deal with all matters in a sensitive and serious manner to ensure you receive justice for your trauma. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.