DPP v Patel [2016] VCC 194

Sentence summary: Rape

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The offender was working as an office cleaner when he found the victim in an unused office, lying alone and heavily intoxicated on the floor. He approached the victim to see if she was alright, and she touched him on the face and arm. The offender had unprotected penile-vaginal intercourse with her, ejaculated, and left.

The offender pleaded guilty to rape.

The judge said the victim was not capable of giving consent because of her level of intoxication. The offender gave no thought as to whether or not she was consenting and took advantage of her intoxicated state to have unprotected sex with her. His actions caused significant harm to the victim, who was already psychologically vulnerable.

The judge took into account the offender’s guilty plea and remorse. He had no prior criminal history, mental health or drug and alcohol issues, and his prospects of rehabilitation were good.

The judge took into account the offender’s anxiety and depression, which would make imprisonment more difficult, as well as his isolation from family in India and the uncertainty of the relationship with his wife. The four-and-a-half months the offender spent in immigration detention on Christmas Island during a period of riots also resulted in a shorter sentence and non-parole period.

Specific deterrence assumed less weight in sentencing as the offender had learnt his lesson to a large extent and was a low risk of reoffending. General deterrence, however, remained very important. The community must understand that no one can have sex with another person without that other person's consent.

The offender was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 months.

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Page last updated: 11 September 2019