Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Letting nine go free for rape shames all Australians

I do not have the words to portray the depth of contempt I have for the crown prosecutor who saw fit to spare nine Aboriginal boys and men from custodial sentences for the rape of a ten year old girl.

These are the sorts of 'culturally sensitive' sentences that have seen Aboriginal communities around Australia become alcohol fuelled hell holes for their female and younger members, which led to the federal government's intervention in the Northern Territory.

Leaving aside the profound immorality of the decision can you imagine the outcry from women's groups if it had have been a male crown prosecutor and not a female?
THE crown prosecutor in a case involving the gang rape of a girl described the crime as "childish experimentation".
The Australian yesterday revealed nine males who pleaded guilty to gang-raping the 10-year-old girl had escaped a prison term, with sentencing judge Sarah Bradley saying the child victim "probably agreed" to have sex with them.
Unbelievable. On that basis, 90% of child molestation and rape would be excused.
Cairns-based District Court judge Sarah Bradley did not record convictions against six of the attackers, who were juveniles, and handed three others suspended sentences for the 2005 rape of the 10-year-old girl at Aurukun indigenous community on Cape York.

The case has caused community outrage, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd saying he was “disgusted and appalled”.
I wonder how many people agree with the decision? Ninemsn had a poll yesterday and it was something like 10,000 - 300 disagreeing with the decision. Those 300 people need to have a long, hard look at their values.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh conceded today the government failed a girl who was returned by Child Safety officials to an indigenous community and she was subsequently gang-raped by nine men.
Maybe the 300 who agreed with the decision were Child Safety officials?
Queensland's Attorney-General last night lodged an appeal into the men's sentences and ordered a review of all sentences handed down in sexual assault cases in the last two years on the Cape.

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said the courts and child protection system failed a 10-year-old girl who was gang-raped in remote north Queensland.

Ms Macklin today said the case was a “shocking reminder” of the child abuse occurring in indigenous communities.

“Like the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and the indigenous women of Queensland who have spoken out ... I believe that child safety is paramount, and child victims of violence deserve the full protection of the law,” she told participants at a stolen generations conference in Sydney.

“In this case the child protection system and the courts failed the little girl in question.”The state’s Director of Public Prosecutions Leanne Clare today came under fire from child advocates and the state opposition for not seeking jail sentences for the offenders.

Ms Clare’s office today publicly released transcripts of the court proceedings, which revealed that during the case, crown prosecutor Steve Carter described the incident - in which the girl contracted a sexually transmitted disease - as “consensual sex”.

“To the extent I can't say it was consensual in the legal sense, but in the other - in the general sense, the non-legal sense, yes, it was,” Mr Carter told the court.
So, if I get a 10 year old to commit murder by talking them into it does that excuse me from culpability?
“So, I then ask on that basis not to seek any periods of detention, not to seek any periods of custody, immediate custody.”

Mr Carter said the girl and the boys and men had prearranged the sex and they had not forced themselves on the girl or threatened her.

“My submission in relation to this particular offence is the same that I make in relation to children of that age ... they're very naughty for doing what they're doing but it's really - in this case, it was a form of childish experimentation, rather than one child being prevailed upon by another,” he said.
Hooha. Force may not have been involved, necessarily, but she was absolutely coerced via peer/group pressure.
“Although she was very young, she knew what was going on and she had agreed to meet the children at this particular place and it was all by arrangement.

“I'd ask your Honour to take that into account.”

Mr Carter also told the court such incidents were not out of character in small, remote communities.
Well, they bloody well should be! What a disgusting statement. It in no way excuses such profoundly appalling behaviour.
“ ... children, females, have got to be - deserve - the same protection under the law in an Aboriginal or an indigenous community as they do in any other community,” Mr Carter said.

“But sometimes things happen in a small community when children get together and people that are just past their childhood and these sort of things are what we're dealing with today.”

It was revealed in The Australian this morning that the state's Child Safety Department knew the child had been pack-raped but did not report it to police.
It gets worse...
Prior to the rape, officials from the Department removed the child from foster parents in Cairns and returned her to the Aurukun community, where she was repeatedly assaulted.
...and worse...
An external investigation was conducted last year into the officials' behaviour and resulted in one officer being fired and two others suspended.

The suspended officers are appealing the disciplinary action.

The Queensland Opposition have called for a “major inquiry” into the failure.

Queensland Liberal leader and shadow Attorney-General Mark McArdle said the Attorney-General and the Minister for Child Safety had a lot of questions to answer.

“How on earth does a young child become the victim of a pack rape?”

“And how can this appalling crime be repeated, with the same child victim in the same community?"
...the pits of the pits.

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