Prosecutor suspended in Australian rape furore

An Australian prosecutor who described nine males who gang-raped a 10-year-old Aboriginal girl as "naughty" was suspended from duty as outrage grew Wednesday over the fact they were not jailed.

Prosecutor suspended in Australian rape furore
Court transcripts showed prosecutor Steve Carter described the 2006 rape as "childish experimentation" and consensual "in a general sense."

District Court judge Sarah Bradley did not record convictions against six teenage attackers and gave suspended sentences to three others.

The girl had "probably agreed" to have sex with the nine, she said.

The case has triggered a storm of protest, with child advocate groups and politicians, including newly-elected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, joining in a chorus of condemnation, saying the law was failing to protect children.

The Queensland state government is appealing the sentences, and has ordered a review of some 75 sexual assault cases on the remote northeastern Cape York peninsular over the past two years.

Carter, the senior legal officer responsible for Cape York, has been stood aside by the state's director of public prosecutions pending an inquiry, state attorney-general Kerry Shine said late Tuesday.

Queensland state premier Anna Bligh said she was appalled at the sentence, and vowed "very radical action" if it was part of a systemic failure.

The girl, who cannot be named, had been gang-raped at the age of seven in the Aurukun community before being put into foster care with a non-indigenous family in Cairns.

An April 2006 she was returned to Aurukun.

Carter told the court the sex had been pre-arranged and the males had not forced themselves on the girl, according to the transcript.

"They're very naughty for doing what they're doing but it's really, in this case, it was a form of childish experimentation, rather than one child being prevailed upon by another," he said.

Carter said such incidents were not out of character in remote communities.

"Children, females, have got to be — deserve — the same protection under the law in an Aboriginal or an indigenous community as they do in any other community," he added. "But sometimes things happen in a small community when children get together."


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Aralık 2007, 13:06
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