Friday, September 26, 2008

Australian gang rapist loses appeal

Sydney gang rapist loses appeal

One of up to 20 men involved in the “grotesque” and degrading pack rape of a Sydney woman has failed in a bid to have his conviction overturned. The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal also rejected Sela Qoro's plea for his 14-year sentence to be reduced on psychological grounds.

Qoro, 45, was one of between 10 and 20 men involved in the detention and gang rape of a 20-year-old woman at Redfern in Sydney's inner city in November 2005. A NSW District Court jury convicted the father of five of aggravated sexual assault in company, for his role in the attack.
He forced the woman to perform oral sex upon him after others had subjected her to a range of sex acts.

Sentencing Qoro to a maximum 14 years last April, Judge Peter Berman said it was “impossible not to be struck by the callousness“ of the men, who treated the victim “as an object for their sexual gratification and nothing more”.

The attack's ringleader had urged the men to “be as rough as you like, she likes it“, Judge Berman said, describing it as a “grotesque episode”.

“She was not treated as a human being,” he said.

“When (Qoro) forced the complainant to perform oral sex on him, he well knew that she had already been subjected to degrading and repeated forced sexual intercourse at the hands of a number of other men.”

Qoro's trial was originally a joint hearing along with the man accused of inciting the attack, but their trials were split a few days into proceedings. Qoro's lawyers applied for the jury to be discharged and a fresh panel sworn in for his case, but the judge refused.

Qoro claimed, in the appeal hearing, that it was a miscarriage of justice.

He also asked the appeal court to reduce his sentence, claiming the trial judge failed to adequately consider the fact that he was mildly intellectually disabled.

But Justices Roger Giles, Peter Johnson and Peter Hall today dismissed the appeal against both conviction and sentence. “His Honour's decision to decline to discharge the jury was a proper exercise of discretion in the circumstances,” they ruled.

“No error has been demonstrated in his Honour's decision declining to discharge the jury.”
Qoro will be eligible for release in January 2016, at the expiration of his 10-year non-parole term.

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