Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Australia: Only 18 months jail for torturing a disabled man to death?

The aunt of a disabled man said yesterday the three men who tortured him and helped cover up his death were "not getting their just deserts". Shalendra Singh, 23, Darren Charles Summers, 37, and an 18-year-old who cannot be named were jailed yesterday for a minimum 14 to 18 months after pleading guilty to being an accessory to manslaughter.

The Supreme Court heard Christopher O'Brien, 22, was subjected to extensive "interrogation" over the theft of a bracelet and a missing phone on March 6 last year. Mr O'Brien, who had an intellectual age of 14, was put in a chair, hit on his spine and limbs with a hammer and forced to eat chilli flakes and drink kitchen poisons. When he died in the loungeroom almost two days later Singh, Summers and the youth, then 17, cleaned the house to dispose of forensic evidence. Singh and Summers also made false statements to police.

Mr O'Brien's remains were found in Dandenong Creek wrapped in a sleeping bag last August 14. Justice Lex Lasry said although the trio had not caused the death, their actions resulted in his family not knowing where he was for five months. "The extended viciousness and cruelty of this attack on Christopher O'Brien almost defies belief," he said. "Notwithstanding that knowledge you co-operated in doing things aimed at protecting those who had killed O'Brien."

The judge rejected submissions by the prosecution and the defence for wholly suspend sentences for Singh and Summers, which would have allowed them to walk free. But outside court Mr O'Brien's aunt, Carmel, said the jail terms were not enough. "Chris was the most beautiful person . . . to hear what actually happened in his last hours of life, days of life, is just so upsetting," she said.

Singh was jailed for two years and three months with a non-parole term of 14-months. Summers was given 2 1/2 years' jail with a minimum of 16 months. The youth was jailed for 18 months but the judge recommended immediate parole. Two men who have pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr O'Brien are yet to be sentenced.

Original report here

Stupid and thuggish Australian cops again

Man cleared of sex attacks traumatised in custody -- after arrogant police accept without question notoriously unreliable eyewitness identification. There IS a resemblance between the innocent guy (See pic below) and the desciption of the actual attacker -- which shows again the perils of eyewitness ID. Thank goodness for DNA evidence

A Sydney man wrongly accused of being a sex predator says he was traumatised after being charged and locked up by police despite having an alibi. Joey de Mesa, 23, of Minchinbury, was released yesterday after forensic tests cleared him of assaulting several young women in Sydney's north-west.

Mr de Mesa saw CCTV footage of himself at Blacktown railway station on the television news and went to Mount Druitt police station on Saturday to clear his name. "I saw a picture of myself. It looked like it was taken at Blacktown station and then I didn't know what to do after that," Mr de Mesa told Network Ten tonight. "I told my parents it's not me, please believe me."

He said he told police he was working at a fruit shop in Edgecliff when some of the attacks occurred. "I told them that it wasn't me. I told them to get more hard evidence, but they said they've got all the evidence that they needed, that's it." He said he told police to check CCTV footage at his work. However, police later said they had "compelling evidence" before the forensic tests were returned.

One of the victims told police she had spotted her attacker at Blacktown last week, and police circulated CCTV footage of the man captured at the railway station. Mr de Mesa was charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault, three counts of aggravated robbery, indecent assault and stalking and intimidation linked to assaults on five women in Sydney's north-west between April and June. He was strip searched and faced Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday, where he was refused bail. "I was about to break down. I didn't know what to do," Mr de Mesa said.

He said he barely slept or ate while locked up and began questioning whether he was responsible for the crimes. "(Police) made me think that it was me, that I'd done all these things, so in my mind I had to go through it (to) think whether I really did rape anyone or not. That's how much they put it on me," he told Fairfax. "I had never been to a court before. I was just so confused and shocked," he said.

Police today refused to comment on whether an apology would be made to Mr de Mesa. Detectives continue investigations into the string of attacks, during which victims as young as 16 were sexually assaulted by the same attacker, who was armed with a knife on each occasion. "Detectives are encouraging children and young people to avoid walking or travelling alone, especially if going to and from school," police said.

Each victim has described their attacker as being of Asian appearance, aged between 18 and 21, with two prominent top front teeth.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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