Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Man jailed for killing twins' sons

A SYDNEY man has been jailed for at least 24½ years for killing the infant sons of twin sisters with whom he had separate relationships.

In the NSW Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Peter Hall said the otherwise non-violent man had not revealed how the deaths occurred or his motivation.

The judge also noted the deaths had "left an unimaginable trail of grief and tragedy".

The 41-year-old printer, who can only be referred to as RHB for legal reasons, had denied murdering both boys, on January 26, 1993, and February 14, 2004.

In October a jury found him guilty of the alternative charge of manslaughter in relation to the first boy, aged 14 months, and guilty of murdering the second, aged two. Both infants suffered internal traumatic - non-accidental - head injury.

"The medical evidence permits the inference to be drawn that the force involved in occasioning blunt head injury to [the first boy] was a significant force or sufficient to cause rotational head injury or injury caused by impact," Justice Hall said. "The mechanisms of injury were the same or similar to those that caused injury to [the second boy]."

RHB married the mother of the first boy in 1992 and sometime after they broke up in 2001 began a relationship with her twin.

In the first case he had brought her unconscious and "limp" son to her at their home, after he had been alone with the toddler.

The mother of the second boy had been out shopping when RHB rang to say: "Hurry up and get back, your son is unconscious, he's blacked out."

On occasions, she said, RHB told her how much he hated her taking the boy to visit his father, saying "I wish this child was mine so you wouldn't have to go over and see [him]."

Justice Hall said medical evidence at the trial concluded he was not suffering any psychiatric illness, disability, or disturbance.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Shine predicts rape sentences appeal

Queensland Attorney-General Kerry Shine says he expects to get the go ahead to launch an appeal against the sentences given to nine males who raped a 10-year-old girl at the Cape York Indigenous community of Aurukun.

Six juveniles who pleaded guilty to the rape were placed on 12 months probation with no conviction recorded, and three older men received suspended six-month jail sentences.

Mr Shine met the Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Leanne Clare this morning to discuss the sentences and the fact that none of those involved will serve jail time.

He says he is horrified by the circumstances of the case and is expecting the DPP's advice later today.

"My expectation though would be that the advice would be to appeal," he said.

"It really is hard to imagine how these sentences are in line with community expectations."

The normal 28-day appeal period for the case has expired.

Meanwhile, former Children's Court magistrate and child advocate Barbara Holborow says a 10-year-old child cannot give consent to have sex.

She says she is astonished at District Court Judge Sarah Bradley's suggestion in her sentencing remarks that the girl "probably agreed" to have sex with all nine males.

Ms Holborow says the girl will be traumatised and the males involved should be appropriately punished.

"What message is it saying, what message is it sending out, that it is all right for Indigenous youths to rape a 10-year-old child? I don't think so," she said.