DNA, a dead brother and a rape 20 years ago

A man has pleaded guilty to raping an elderly Holocaust survivor in a Sydney car park more than 20 years ago, after his legal team raised the possibility that his dead brother was involved in the crime.

Robert Paul Webb on Wednesday pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault on the woman, then aged 71, in November 1991.

The victim, who cannot be named, died two years ago, aged 91. Webb, who was 18 at the time, was not charged until 2011, when police discovered a semen stain on the ground of the car park.

At the time, police said this DNA sample had a one in 8 billion match with the accused.

Before his trial was due to start this week, Webb’s lawyer, Greg Scragg, told Judge Ian McClintock the defence would argue the accused’s brother could not be ruled out.

“The accused has four brothers, one of them is deceased,” Mr Scragg said on Monday. “That brother, we say, cannot be excluded … as there’s a reasonable hypothesis that another person with the same DNA profile as the accused left the DNA material at the crime scene.”

On Tuesday, crown prosecutor Patrick Barrett said there were new DNA reports available and the trial could not proceed until the legal teams had looked at them.

It is understood the new reports found it was extremely unlikely the DNA would match his sibling.

Last year, Mr Scragg had argued in the Court of Criminal Appeal that the woman’s death meant his client faced “unfair prejudice” because she could not be cross-examined about the attack.

He appealed after his application for a permanent stay of the matter was denied.

During the appeal hearing, Crown prosecutor Sally Dowling said that the great strength of the prosecution case was the DNA evidence.

“There would be nothing in any cross-examination of the complainant that could rebut that evidence,” she said.

Ms Dowling also said that, under the law, a permanent stay could only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

“There is a strong public interest in a person facing serious criminal charges being brought to trial,” she said.

The appeal judges rejected Webb’s appeal, meaning that the matter could go to trial.

But the trial never started, and Webb will face a sentencing hearing in Parramatta in April.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Published in: 杭州楼凤

Comments are closed.