Thursday, December 13, 2012

Australia: Assailant of German Tourist Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison

An 18-year-old from Queensland who committed a series of very violent and sexual attacks when he was 15 and 16, has failed in his efforts to have his eight-year prison sentence reduced on appeal.

The youth, who cannot be named because he was a juvenile when he committed his crimes, was convicted in the Cairns Childrens Court in June of rape, deprivation of liberty, stealing, grievous bodily harm, assault and assault with intent to rape.

The charges stem from sexual attacks against three women ranging in ages from 19 to 75  in 2010 and 2011.

COMMENT: The defendant had appealed his sentence on the grounds that it was "excessive," given his age at the time of the offenses, his remorse, earlier guilty pleas and the fact he undertook education programs while in custody.

Yet, on December 11, the Court of Appeal denied his attorney's motion on the basis that the teen's crimes were so violent that he would have been sentenced to a much longer prison term had he been an adult.  

The defendant's first incident occurred in 2010, when the youth attacked and raped a mother who was leaving a hotel in the early hours of the morning.

He then attempted to rape a 19-year-old German tourist in Cairns in November after running up behind her, punching her in the face and attempting to strangle her. Fortunately, the victim escaped.

The latest attack occurred in October 2011 when he punched a 75-year-old woman in the face several times, kicked her after she fell to the ground and rode away from the unprovoked attack on a stolen bicycle.

As a side note, we increasingly are seeing greater levels of violence being committed by offenders under the age of 18. 

Thus, travelers and tourists should not underestimate criminally-oriented and mean-spirited youths, which is why a healthy sense of personal security awareness is so important, particularly when traveling alone.