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.

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