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    A Sydney man has been charged with historical sexual assault following new DNA evidence.

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      historical sexual assault

      Sydney Man Charged with Historical Sexual Assault After DNA Breakthrough

      A Sydney man has been charged with historical sexual assault following new DNA evidence.

      The investigation was into a number of sexual assaults over 15 years ago.

      Over that time, police had identified over 3,000 persons of interest before finally charging the 51-year old from Panania, in Sydney’s south-west.

      A number of the alleged victims were spoken to by police following the man being charged.

      Historical Sexual Assault Investigation

      NSW Police said that they were investigating 13 separate sexual assaults that occurred between August 2003 and November 2004.

      At the time of the incidents, officers said a serial offender had targeted women who had left the doors and windows of their homes unlocked.

      Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty said, “This person was dubbed the ‘inner-west rapist’ and there were women throughout the inner-west of Sydney that were terrified in their own homes.”

      Over 3,000 persons of interest were investigated in the 15 years since the incidents. Police confirmed the 51-year-old was not one of them.

      At one stage NSW police sought assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the US. However, this proved to be unhelpful and no-one was charged with sexual assault.

      After police were unable to identify the man, police offered safety training to women across Sydney so they could be better prepared to protect themselves.

      “As leads went cold … the investigation dwindled away,” Detective Superintendent Doherty said.

      Panania Man Charged with Sexual Assault

      A 51-year-old man was arrested in Panania and subsequently charged with sexual assault in relation to four of the incidents.

      “We will continue our investigations to attempt to link that person to the other nine offences,” Detective Superintendent Doherty said.

      This would tend to suggest the evidence in relation to the other nine incidents was significantly lacking. In particular, it is likely that there was no DNA evidence found linking the Accused to the other nine alleged offences. This is not uncommon with historical sexual assault cases.

      This was confirmed by police later. Officers said that they were investigating all thirteen incidents on the basis that they were linked by “location and modus operandi”. However, DNA that supported their case against the Accused was only found at four of the crime scenes.

      DNA Leads to Breakthrough in Investigation

      However, in 2020 detectives renewed their investigation and completed a “comprehensive investigative and forensic review”.

      A “familial DNA link” was made by experts from NSW Health Pathology’s Forensic and Analytical Science Service (FASS) early in 2021.

      As a result of this, DNA results suggested that someone from the Accused’s family was a potential suspect. Police then made further inquiries which led to the accused being charged with sexual assault.

      Jennifer Raymond of the NSW Police Force Science and Research Unit said updated DNA technology led to the arrest.

      “It’s a combination of a case review and updated DNA technology from our partners at NSW Health pathology. The updates in the kits that they use … find granular detail in terms of relatives and potential familial matches,” she said.

      “The DNA database contains people on there. If the person whose DNA it is isn’t on that database, but their relative is, then we can potentially work from that to produce some leads.”

      Detective Superintendent Doherty said the crimes “live in the mind of a lot of people who lived in that area at the time.”

      The man has been charged with a number of offences including five counts of sexual intercourse without consent.

      Police will allege in court the man is responsible for four separate aggravated break and enter and commit serious indictable offence in 2003 and 2004 in Croydon, Bondi, Bexley and Marrickville.

      He has been refused bail and will appear at Bankstown Local Court where he can make an urgent bail application.

      The case itself will proceed through the EAGP process which means that police must serve the brief of evidence on Bankstown Criminal Lawyers. Depending on the strength of the evidence, he will confirm whether he intends to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges at a later date.  

      Historical Sexual Assault Lawyers

      The definition of sexual assault is engaging in sexual intercourse with another person without their consent. It is contained in Section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

      One of the common defences to sexual assault is identification. If the Crown cannot establish that the Accused was the offender, then the offence cannot be proved. Often experts can be used such as DNA, fingerprint, CCTV and intoxication experts to cast doubt on identification.

      In the present case, it appears that the DNA evidence may be open to challenge. The FASS lab tests should be subpoenaed and then provided to a DNA expert. That expert will be able to analyse the material and determine if there are any issues with the DNA results.

      There is also the issue of secondary DNA transfer. This is the concept that DNA can be deposited at location A and then transported to location B, without the person ever having been to location B.

      The maximum penalty for sexual assault 14 years Imprisonment. There is also a Standard Non-Parole Period which is 7 years imprisonment.

      There have been a number of recent examples of these charges being dismissed after an accused retains experienced criminal defence lawyers. Having the best sexual assault lawyers will go a long way towards beating these charges. Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email info@astorlegal.com.au.

      The definition of sexual assault is engaging in sexual intercourse with another person without their consent. It is contained in Section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

      Sexual assault allegations are far more common today than at any time in the past. Community attitudes have changed shifted, in large part due to the #metoo movement. Unsurprisingly, this has made fighting such allegations more difficult than ever before.

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