* Piling insult upon insult to injury: this clearly shows how the judiciary is out of touch with the public they are sworn to serve and protect from predators like Skaf & Cie
NSW Premier Nathan Rees says he wants to appeal against the reduction in the sentences given to brothers Bilal and Mohammed Skaf over the gang rape of a teenage girl.
“I’m just off the phone to the acting Attorney-General [Verity Firth] to see if we can appeal that decision, and if we can, we will,” he told reporters.
“This is exactly the sort of decision by the judiciary that gives rise to claims in the community that the judiciary is out of touch,” Mr Rees said.
The Skafs failed to have their convictions overturned for the gang rape of a teenager but were successful in having their sentences reduced.
TheÂ decision in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal today related to theÂ gang rape of a 16-year-old at gunpoint, with up to 14 men watching, at Gosling Park, Greenacre, in August 2000.
The brothersÂ were appealing after a 2006 retrial.
Bilal Skaf, 26, had his minimum sentence reducedÂ by two years, meaning he will now be eligible for parole in February 2031.
Mohammed Skaf, 25, had his minimum sentence cut by 18 months and he will be eligible for parole in January 2018.
Bilal Skaf was originally sentenced to 55 years in jail for a string of rapes. That figure was later reduced to 38 years on appeal.
He will now serve a maximum of 35 years following today’s decision.
The sentence cut prompted outrage from “Darren”, the father of a teenage girl – identified only as Miss C – who was raped at Bankstown by a pack including the Skaf brothers just two weeks after the Gosling Park offence.
“It’s unbelievable,” Darren told Macquarie Radio after hearing of the sentence cut.
“I don’t get it. What’s the go with judges and their Court of Criminal Appeal? Do they love it? What’s the go here?
“I would honestly like to meet and speak to one of these lawyers who defend these guys – I know they’re cowards. That’s why they’re defence lawyers. What, do they love criminals?”
During the Gosling Park appeal, the Skafs’ lawyers had argued there was no long-term physical injury suffered by that victim.
“You can’t tell me raping someone isn’t going to have a psychological effect,” Darren said.
“My daughter has come out of it not so bad. I know one of the girls who has come out of it, her life’s a mess.”
During the appeal in June, Bilal Skaf’s lawyer argued that the conviction for the attack in Greenacre should have been overturned as his client’s name had become synonymous with gang rape and heÂ could not be fairly tried.
It was also argued that the trial should have been permanently stayed.
The two had successfully appealed against the verdictÂ in their first trial after it was revealed that two jurors had conducted their own investigations at the park.
No deterrent, says Opposition
Opposition legal affairs spokesman Greg Smith said he did not agree with the reduction, which was the second the brothers had been granted.
“They were the worst series of gang rapes this country has ever seen,” Mr Smith told reporters.
“Unless we send strong messages out to the community, to other yobbos who might be thinking of doing things to girls, then they won’t be deterred.
“This is the problem. Even though it might seem only a light reduction, it’s the second reduction.”
– with AAP