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Two Years for Robbing/ Raping Elderly Woman - Rape sentence appeal dismissed

A court has dismissed an appeal to increase the jail time of a man who raped a 69- year-old woman in her own home despite one of the judges saying the original sentence would offend the community.
The Department of Public Prosecutions had appealed against the four-year sentence of Gregory Shepherd who raped the elderly woman in her Warren home, in western NSW, on February 2, 2001.
While two of the three judges in the NSW Criminal Court of Appeal said the jail term was adequate. Justice Robert Hume said it did not reflect sentencing guidelines.
"I am led again to the impression that inadequate attention is being paid by sentencing judges to what parliament has prescribed," he said.
Shepherd, who was 19 at the time of the offence, entered the victim's home while drunk and stole $50 from her handbag.
He then re-entered the home and raped the woman on her bed.
He pleaded guilty to the rape and received a non-parole period of two years.
The DPP claimed the sentence did not reflect the sentencing judge's remarks that the age of the victim and the fact the rape occurred in her own home were "very aggravating features".
Justice Hulme said the sentence should have been six years, with a non-parole period of three-and-a-half years to reflect the seriousness of the crime.
"The suggestion that a two-year non-parole period is appropriate for a drunken youth who enters the home of a defenceless 69-year-old woman at night and then rapes her, is calculated to offend, rather than accord with, the general moral sense of the community," he said.
He also said while statistics did not show the circumstances of cases, only seven per cent of sentences for rape over the last seven years had exceeded half of the statutory minimum of 14 years. But Justice Dyson Heydon and Justice Peter Hidden found that while the sentence was lenient it was not inadequate enough to overturn.
"The sentence which his Honour passed, while undoubtedly lenient, does not demonstrate such inadequacy as to call for the intervention of this Court on a Crown appeal," Justice Hidden said.

Herald Sun (6- 2- 2003)

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