Multicultural Rape Excused by Judge Since Muslim Did Not Have Clear Concept of Consent in Sexual Relations

Meagan Dillon | Herald Sun | April 01, 2013 9:45PM

An Afghan refugee who argued cultural differences led him to rape a drunken girl has won a bid to appeal against a 14-year jail term.

Esmatullah Sharifi, 31, was given a total 11-year non-parole term for two rapes committed within days of each other in December 2008.

He pleaded guilty at separate hearings to raping a teen on December 19 and a woman, 25, on Christmas Eve. He’s been granted leave to appeal against the sentence for raping the teen.

A date is yet to be set.

Granting leave to appeal, Court of Appeal Justice Robert Redlich said: “The sentencing judge rejected any suggestion (Sharifi) didn’t have a clear concept of consent in sexual relations. His Honour concluded that the protection of the community was the principal purpose for which the sentence was imposed.”

But he said the 18-year-old victim had found there were “aspects of his conduct that were strange” because Sharifi treated her like a “willing participant”.

He noted that Sharifi, who came to Australia on a temporary protection visa in 2001, also drove her home.

“It proves, in my view, an adequate basis for most grounds of appeal that (Sharifi) wishes to pursue,” the judge said.

In April last year, a psychologist told the County Court that Sharifi had “an unclear concept of what constitutes consent in sexual relationships” in Australia.

But in his sentencing remarks, Judge Mark Dean said Sharifi had gone hunting for vulnerable, drunken women to rape. His flight from the Taliban was no excuse for extreme violence.

“The offence committed by you was an extremely serious act of violence, and in my opinion you well knew the victim was not consenting,” he said.

“You have no remorse or insight into your offending.”

Sharifi found the teen near to a Frankston nightclub and offered to drive her to meet friends at a Mornington hotel. But instead he drove her to a dark street and raped her.

“Your brutal conduct must be denounced by this court,” Judge Dean said.

Sharifi was jailed in 2009 for 9½ years with a minimum of seven years for the Christmas Eve rape. In April, he was given a total sentence of 14 years.

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