January 2005, police taped off the scene of alleged gang rape.
January 2005, police taped off the scene of alleged gang rape.

Teens may escape NYE rape charge



Pair sentenced in Lismore Local Court to two years' probation on lesser charge RAPE charges against four boys over an incident involving a 15-year-old girl at Lennox Head on New Year's Eve, 2004, will likely be dropped, a DPP prosecutor said yesterday. The comments came as two teenagers, now aged 18 and 19, escaped convictions on a lesser charge of having sex with a 15- year-old, to which they pleaded guilty, and were sentenced in Lismore Local Court yesterday to two years' probation. The other two boys, who have also pleaded guilty to the lesser charge, had their cases adjourned until August 30. None of the boys can be identified because of their age. According to agreed facts handed up to the court, the girl was celebrating New Year's Eve at Lennox Head with fami- ly and friends when the inci- dent happened, but she had drunk so much during the night that when police ques- tioned her later she not could recall the incident.

The facts say the girl be- came separated from her family when they crossed the road for the countdown and that she met a group of boys that in- cluded one of the offenders. The girl walked with the boys and put her arm around one and kissed him. The boy and girl left the group and approached the sec- ond offender. The girl then put her arms around him as well. It was those two boys who were sentenced yesterday. The girl and the two boys walked towards the beach with two others following. Once at the beach the girl and the first boy lay down and started kissing. After a short time the second boy joined in and later the other two boys joined in as well. Adults walking up the beach later saw the girl lying on the ground with what appeared to be three boys (not the first or second boys) leaning or lying against her head, groin and

chest, and called 000 because she was not moving. No fifth boy has been charged over the incident. The boys' lawyers told the court they had believed the girl was 16 at the time. Both boys were remorseful and one had suffered depression. Both lawyers said a convic- tion put their clients onto the sex offenders' register for five years and limit their prospects. In handing down his sen- tence, Magistrate Nick Reimer described the incident as 'dis- tressing and disgusting' and said it had caused suffering for offenders and victim alike.

"As far as the victim is con- cerned, she will continue to suffer for a long time to come," Mr Reimer said. The prosecutor later told The Northern Star that the more serious charges of aggra- vated sexual assault in com- pany, on which none of the four boys had entered a plea, would remain in play until the two boys' right of appeal had expired and then, if they did not appeal, be withdrawn. They would be withdrawn against the other two if they maintained their guilty plea and did not appeal any result- ing sentence.



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