From the Sydney Morning Herald, with thanks to Nicolei:
Two teenage gang rape victims will be spared the torment of facing their attackers a third time after an appeal by two of the men was dismissed in a test case yesterday.
The full bench of the Court of Criminal Appeal upheld a controversial new law, introduced just before the men’s trial, which prevented them from directly cross-examining the girls.
In handing down his judgement, Justice James Wood also deemed Justice Brian Sully’s “trenchant criticism” of the law “inappropriate” when he sentenced the brothers, known as MSK, MAK, MRK and MMK, to between 10 and 22 years’ jail in April (a fifth offender, RS, hanged himself before sentencing).
The girls, then aged 16 and 17, were brutally raped at knifepoint at the brothers’ Ashfield home in July 2002.
Justice Wood said Justice Sully’s criticisms were “unduly favourable” towards the rapists.
Justice Sully had said that “serious and urgent attention” should be given to the repeal of the law “before it really does become an entrenched vehicle for the wrongful depriving of accused persons of what are, in truth, not merely basic legal rights, but basic human rights as well”.
But Justices Keith Mason, Graham Barr and Wood yesterday unanimously rejected that assertion when it was made by MSK and MAK as the basis of their appeal against conviction – they also said it was their “common-law right” to personally cross-examine a witness….
The appeal court noted that MSK and MAK were urged to accept legal representation – they were offered the services of a well-regarded silk free of charge but claimed all lawyers thought Muslims were rapists, an accusation also directed at the NSW Government.