‘Miscarriage of justice’ as raped woman charged

 

A SHOCK report has revealed that a woman charged with sex crimes had been raped by her supposed victims.

The Cape York woman, known only as MW, was charged with three counts of carnal knowledge in January 2017, six to nine months after the alleged offences.

The truth of the matter came to light after she was due to be sentenced by Judge Dean Morzone in June last year.

Judge Morzone, concerned at the lack of information regarding "the causes of the offending, the defendant's risk of reoffending, prospects of rehabilitation and need for supervision," ordered pre-sentence reports be submitted.

In August that year, the awful facts about MW's case were revealed.

"A group of boys including the two victims ... jumped on top of her, began pushing her around on the bed and forced her to have sex with them," the report stated. "She felt pleading guilty was an 'easy way' out of the legal trouble she had found herself in."

The court heard she had "reasonable grounds" to believe the boys were older than 16 and thought one was over 21.

MW's sworn statement to the court exposed the debacle that was her legal defence prior to her appearance before Judge Morzone.

"She was never taken through the brief of evidence against her, despite asking her solicitor when she would be able to give her statement, she was not provided with an opportunity to give her version of events to her lawyers by way of a written statement or proof of evidence," Judge Tracy Fantin later wrote.

In fact, she met her barrister only two days before the sentencing date and had met her lawyers twice.

"She was advised that if she pleaded not guilty she would likely be found guilty and would, after trial, be sentenced to eight years imprisonment or more," Judge Fantin wrote.

"She decided to plead guilty to 'minimise the time I would be in prison and separated from my child'."

Her lawyers beat a hasty retreat from the case when these matters came to light.

One month later the case was taken up by Legal Aid Queensland, which applied to vacate the plea of guilty.

"It is difficult to imagine a more patent miscarriage of justice if she were not permitted to withdraw her pleas," Judge Fantin wrote in March.

The crown has dropped all the charges against MW.



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