DPP v Thang [2019] VCC 1234

Sentence summary: Rape

A man was jailed for his part in a pack rape that targeted a homeless woman who had been living under a bridge after leaving her partner.

Ram Thang, 21, pleaded guilty to a rolled-up charge of rape and was sentenced to seven years and six months prison with a non-parole period of five years and six months.

The Court heard how the offender and two other men had been drinking throughout the night and decided to head to a nearby bridge where they discovered a woman trying to sleep underneath.

After initially interacting with the victim, the three men forcibly threw her to the ground, covered her eyes and mouth and raped her several times.

A passer-by noticed what was happening and intervened, yelling at the three men to leave.

All three men fled on foot but were later arrested by police in the area that night.

The presiding judge described the offending as the most serious that can become before court.

“The offending was humiliating, degrading and distressing for the powerless victim,” the judge said.

“You all ignored her pleas to be left in peace.”

When deciding upon a sentence, the judge noted the need to protect the community.

“Your crime is deserving of stern punishment. General and specific deterrence, the protection of the community and denunciation must be emphasised in the sentence.”

The judge also noted the victim’s impact statement played an important role in determining the offending’s effect.

“In addition to the physical consequences she suffered significant Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that impacted greatly upon her close personal relationships,” the judge said.

Mitigating factors included the offender’s young age, relatively early guilty plea and a difficult upbringing that saw the offender flee Myanmar as a child.

The Court also heard the offender also faced the very real possibility of being deported at the conclusion of his sentence, as his visa will be cancelled, forcing him into immigration detention.

However, the seriousness of the offending and aggravating factors such as the vulnerability of the victim, meant only a significant jail term would be appropriate.

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Page last updated: 5 May 2020