But he is black so that is OK, apparently
TWO adults and two teenagers will each spend between one and 15 months behind bars for sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy at a remote Top End Aboriginal community. Rejecting pleas for wholly suspended sentences, Northern Territory Supreme Court judge Trevor Riley yesterday described the anal penetration of the boy between April and August last year at Maningrida, 500km east of Darwin, as "opportunistic" rather than predatory.
However, he said the males had taken advantage of the young victim, who was assaulted on three separate occasions at the community, as he sentenced the four offenders to a total of 32 months in custody. "The future of the victim remains uncertain and of significant concern," Justice Riley said.
The Territory's top prosecutor, Richard Coates, yesterday attributed the reluctance of Aboriginal children to give evidence as an explanation for the decision by the Crown not to pursue more serious rape charges, which could have led to jail terms of 20 years or life. The four offenders pleaded guilty to a total of eight charges, including sexual intercourse without consent. Justice Riley said he would have imposed higher sentences if they had claimed innocence.
The revelations in The Australian last week that nine males who gang-raped a 10-year-old girl in the Queensland Aboriginal community of Aurukun had escaped jail sentences has triggered nationwide debate about indigenous justice. Unlike the Aurukun gang-rape case, Justice Riley rejected pleas from defence lawyers to impose wholly suspended sentences on the offenders. But the sentences were still criticised as inadequate. "For Centrelink fraud and property damage, they'll send people to jail for three times that," Queensland indigenous human rights activist Gracelyn Smallwood said. "We've got to start getting serious about sexual abuse right across the country." ....
The victim of the Maningrida assault has been living in Darwin since charges were laid last year. The court heard yesterday that he could be blamed in the community for any sentence imposed on his abusers. "The boys did bad things to me," he said in his victim impact statement.
Claevon Cooper, 20, was sentenced to three years and nine months behind bars, suspended after 15 months. Isiah Pascoe, also 20, was sentenced to two years and eight months, suspended after 10 months. An 18-year-old boy was sentenced to two years and six months in jail, suspended after six months. Justice Riley ordered a 14-year-old boy who breached bail conditions earlier this year to spend eight months in juvenile detention - suspended after one month - for gross indecency. The judge did not record a conviction against the fifth offender, 17, who fondled the victim's buttocks, instead imposing a 12-month good behaviour bond. He acknowledged defence claims that pornographic movies had influenced the behaviour of the males, but said: "Those matters do not excuse or justify what took place." ....
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