Teen Raped During 000 Delay
A HOMELESS teenage girl was raped in the 50 minutes it took for
police to respond to her Triple-0 emergency phone call, a court has heard.
In the Court of Appeal, a man whose name was suppressed was
appealing a nine-year sentence for rape and indecent dealing.
The court was told the girl was 14 and living on the
streets in Ipswich.
The court was told that in the early hours of
February 24, 2003, she met up with three men and
agreed to go nightclubbing with them. Later, she
went with the men to a motorcycle club premises
where they consumed more alcohol before all four left.
However, the man and the girl later returned to
the club where she fell asleep.
The court was told the girl awoke to find the man
performing oral sex on her.
She immediately got up, grabbed her clothing, went
straight to the phone and called police on Triple-0.
But the court was told police did not arrive for
about 50 minutes, during which time the man stopped
the girl from leaving, indecently dealt with her and then raped her.
It was alleged the man told the girl: "If I am going
to jail for this, I might as well finish."
When police arrived, the man had claimed the girl
told him she was 16 and that sexual activity had been consensual.
He also denied having threatened to hit her with a
However, the man ultimately pleaded guilty to rape,
indecent treatment of a child under 16 and deprivation of liberty.
He was sentenced to nine years when he appeared in
the District Court in Ipswich in July.
He appealed on the grounds his nine-year term was
excessive when compared with other cases where
little actual violence was involved.
In a 2-1 decision, the Court of Appeal upheld the
appeal and reduced the man's sentence to eight years
with a recommendation for parole after 3? years.
Justice John Jerrard said the limited force used made
the case one where an eight-year sentence should have been imposed.
However, the dissenting judge, Justice Ros Atkinson
said she would have dismissed the appeal and the
sentence was within the appropriate range.
She said an aggravating fact was the man's attack
on the girl persisted and in fact increased after
she had sought police help.
More than a third of police calls are not
immediately attended because resources are
not available, according to police records
obtained by The Courier-Mail.
Average response times for routine calls
in most of the state average more than 50
minutes, with Logan taking 96 minutes.
Unlike other states, Queensland does not
benchmark its normal response times or
publicise them in its annual report.
Police Superintendent Bob Atkinson has
acknowledged "there is always scope for
us to improve" response times but has
declined to answer questions on how
that would be done.
The Courier-Mail (3-12-2005)
Mark Oberhardt/ Tuck Thompson