Grafton Court House
Grafton Court House Matthew Deans

Guilty sex offender released on bail

DESPITE a conviction for sexually assaulting a woman in a car on the Pacific Highway, a Sydney truck driver has been granted bail until his sentencing date next year.

On Tuesday in the District Court in Grafton, a jury of five women and seven men found Alessandro Bongiorno guilty on three of the four charges he faced.

Bongiorno was charged with common assault, assault with an act of indecency, attempted sexual intercourse without consent and sexual intercourse without consent.

He was found not guilty of the charge of attempted sexual intercourse without consent, although Judge Bennett interpreted this as the jury considering the elements of this charge as a precursor to the fourth charge.

The court ordered the identity of the woman to be suppressed.

The offence occurred on June 2, 2014 after Bongiorno picked up the woman from Coffs Harbour Airport after a holiday in Bali.

The pair argued in the car on the trip to Grafton which resulted in Bongiorno stopping the car in a laneway off the highway near the Bom Bom State Forest and forcing himself on the woman.

After the guilty verdict, Judge Bennett considered bail for the offender prior to a sentencing hearing on March 3 in Sydney.

He said as none of the convictions were "show cause" offences a bail application was permitted.

The Crown called the victim of the offence to give evidence why bail should be refused.

She told the court Bongiorno had raped her before and threatened to kill her and the rest of her family if she told police about it.

On another occasion she said he threatened to cut her ankles so she could not run away.

The Crown also brought up more than 100 Facebook posts from six or seven fake accounts, which contained intimate information about Bongiorno and the victim, but Judge Bennett discounted these as there was no direct evidence linking them to the offender.

Bongiorno's barrister said his client needed the bail to tidy up his financial affairs prior to going to prison. He also argued he was not a flight risk or a risk to the public or his victim.

He granted Bongiorno bail with strict reporting conditions including reporting to police three times a week and a prohibiting him from coming any closer than 30km to where the victim lived.

The judge said Bongiorno was certain to face more than two years jail time, including more than two months in custody following his arrest in June, 2014.



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