Ashfield gang rapes
The Ashfield gang rapes were a series of attacks involving indecent assault and rape of possibly as many as eighteen teenaged women of varying ethnic backgrounds which were carried out in Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia in late 2001 and over a six-month period in 2002. A group of four Pakistani brothers and a Nepali student were convicted and imprisoned for the rapes.
The Khan brothers were referred to in court reports by their initials only: MSK, MAK, MRK and MMK, as two of the brothers were juveniles at the time of the crimes. The fifth rapist, Ram Shrestha, was a Nepalese immigrant and friend of the "K" brothers.
The four K brothers are the children of a Sydney general practitioner, Dr Hasan K, of Pakistani origin. They had grown up in Pakistan and had been brought to Sydney in 2000 by their doting father, who provided them with a house in Ashfield. He unsuccessfully attempted in court to provide an alibi for his sons, and was facing perjury charges at the time of his death in November 2006.
At the time of the trial three of the K brothers were already serving a prison sentence for a previous rape. Defendant MSK divulged this information, which had been kept from the jury to prevent them from being biased against the defendants, in open court in a supposed attempt to have the trial aborted.
Outcome of the trial
MSK, MAK, MRK, and MMK were sentenced to between 15 and 24 years imprisonment. Ram Shrestha hanged himself in his prison cell after he was found guilty. The possibility of depriving the rapists of Australian citizenship and deporting them after release was discussed, but under Australian law citizenship can be revoked for children who became citizens by descent only in cases of migration-related fraud.
Their crimes are similar to the Sydney gang rapes by Lebanese-Australian men led by Bilal Skaf. One of the victims alleged that the rapists referred to the Lebanese rapes during the crime. Many of the crimes were videotaped by the perpetrators; the tapes were used as evidence in the trial.
The crimes were, in chronological order:
|20||January||2002||Two sisters, 18 and 16, are taken to one of the brother's Ashfield house. MAK indecently assaults the younger one, but she manages to fight him off. MRK robs her.|
|14||February||Three girls are picked up by MMK and MAK and taken to the house, where they are supplied with alcohol. Tegan Wagner, 14, is repeatedly raped by MSK and MAK in one of the bedrooms while her friends are in the lounge room. She alleged MMK also raped her and hit her when she tried to fight him off.|
|July||A 13-year-old girl, Cassie, has non-coerced, though legally non-consensual sex with MMK. MSK then rapes her twice, followed by Shrestha.|
|28||Two girls, aged 16 and 17, are lured, threatened at knifepoint and sexually assaulted at the Ashfield house by the five rapists. One of the victims was told that the other had been killed because she had resisted orders.
These are the first girls to come forward, sparking the police investigation against the rapists.
MMK is also alleged to have indecently assaulted a 15-year-old girl, Y, in November 2001, but she did not wish to go to trial. On 12 May 2002, he allegedly indecently assaulted two other girls whom police cannot locate, molesting them while he videotaped them.
The four brothers were sentenced to a total of 70 years imprisonment over the July 28 rapes. In late 2004 three of the brothers involved in the rape appealed against their sentences, but their appeals were rejected in November 2005. The fourth brother is continuing his sentence while the fifth rapist, Ram Shrestha, committed suicide.
In April 2006 the New South Wales Supreme Court increased the sentences of three of the brothers. Justice Peter Hidden added a minimum of five years to MSK's sentence and a minimum two extra years to MAK's jail term for the February and July 14 rapes. Their younger brother, MMK, was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment, to be served concurrently and in juvenile detention, for having consensual sex with an underage girl on the night of one of the rapes, as well as for an indecent assault in November 2001.
In October 2007 it was reported that three of the brothers were facing further rape charges. In March 2009 MRK pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl in 2002; he is due to be sentenced on 20 March 2009.
It has been alleged, and indeed claimed by the rapists themselves, that the rapes originated in the clash of Pakistani and Australian cultures, that the rapists did not understand the notion of consent, or that they saw their victims as consenting on the basis of behaviour which Pakistani girls would not engage in. The judge in their trial reprimanded their lawyer in the trial for attempting to use this argument.
On 9 February 2007 it was reported that the two eldest brothers had been assaulted in Goulburn Correctional Centre by a gang of eight other inmates. One was taken to Canberra Hospital with critical head injuries. Seven convicts appeared in court via videolink in March 2009 to face charges over the assault.
MRK, the first of the brothers to be eligible, was granted parole by the State Parole Authority in April 2010 despite the opposition of NSW Corrective Services Commissioner Ron Woodham, and released the following month.
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- News.com.au: Ashfield gang rape brother MRK granted parole
- Podcast by Jason Morrison, Macquarie Radio Network’s Director Of Current Affairs: Tegan Wagner – Victim of gang rapist MRK. Link to podcast Podcast
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