Bilal Skaf

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Bilal Skaf
Skafbilal.jpg
Bilal Skaf's undated photo
Born (1981-09-14) 14 September 1981 (age 33)
Sydney, New South Wales[1]
Occupation State Rail employee
Criminal penalty
31 years' imprisonment
Criminal status Imprisoned
Children None
Parents Mustapha Skaf
Baria Skaf
Conviction(s) Aggravated sexual intercourse without consent

Bilal Skaf (Arabic: بلال سكاف‎) (born 14 September 1981 in Sydney, New South Wales) is an Australian serial gang rapist who led groups of Lebanese Australian men who committed gang rape attacks against women in Sydney in 2000.

For his crimes, Skaf is serving a 31-year prison sentence, and will be eligible for parole in 2033. He was originally sentenced to 55 years with a 40-year non-parole period,[1] but that was modified several times upon appeal.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Bilal's mother Baria worked as a cleaner and an aged care worker and his father Mustapha worked for State Rail in Sydney, gaining a good reputation among his colleagues.[4] It was through his father's reputation that Skaf also found work for State Rail despite having left school at age 14 and gaining convictions for shoplifting and theft.[5]

Gang rapes[edit]

Main article: Sydney gang rapes

Skaf was engaged at the time of his arrest but although his fiancée stood by him during his trial,[6] she ended their engagement soon after his conviction. Skaf's response was to sketch cartoons depicting his former fiancée being raped and murdered.[1] Since he was first charged in November 2000, Skaf has remained unrepentant. During his trial he claimed he was involved only in cases of consensual sex, laughed when his verdict was read and swore at the judge when he received his sentence.[citation needed]

On 16 September 2005, the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal reduced Skaf's 55-year sentence to a maximum of 28 years, with parole available after 22 years.[7] The NSW Attorney-General Bob Debus, decided that the government would seek leave for an appeal to the High Court of Australia against the sentence reduction. An earlier appeal had already reduced his sentence to 46 years, after a successful appeal against one of his convictions.[8]

On 3 February 2006 the High Court refused leave to appeal, arguing that the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal had been left with no choice because of the many errors by the trial judge in sentencing Skaf to 46 years.[2] That meant Skaf could be freed at the age of 42 in 2023.[9] A further appeal led to a 31-year sentence being imposed.[3] Bilal Skaf will now be eligible for release on 11 February 2033.[10]

Family[edit]

He is the brother of Mohammed Skaf, also a gang rape attacker serving 32 years' jail for his part in the attacks.[11] Bilal and Mohammed are the sons of Mustapha Skaf and Baria Skaf who immigrated to Australia from Lebanon.[4]

In 2002, Mustafa Skaf (his father) was accused of offering a bribe to a prison officer.[1] Mr Skaf allegedly phoned the maximum security facility at 1.30pm on Wednesday 22 September 2002, and was put through to a duty officer. He gave his name and telephone number and asked to speak to his son. When the officer told him that outside calls had to be booked in advance and approved for set times, Mr Skaf offered to pay $100 to be put through to his son. The officer dismissed the offer and ended the conversation. He immediately called the number from the calling number display, and Mustafa Skaf answered.[12]

In September 2002, Bilal's mother, Baria, was caught on video attempting to smuggle a letter (to his then fiancée) out of the prison. She was barred from visiting all NSW jails for a period of two years.[12]

Prison life[edit]

He commenced his sentence in Sydney's Long Bay Correctional Centre, but was soon moved to maximum security in Goulburn Gaol after prison officers uncovered plans by fellow inmates to inject him with HIV infected blood.

In March 2003, he was charged with writing a threatening letter to Corrective Services Commissioner, Ron Woodham.[1] The letter had been found in an internal prison mailbox. The letter said: "Don't take this as a threat but if all Muslims aren't released by January 2003 Australia and citizens will be in danger of bombing". White powder had been put into the letter.[1]

While awaiting a court appearance for the letter incident, in July 2003, drawings of gang rape were discovered in Skaf's prison cell. The drawings depicted violence and rape against his once loyal fiancée, who had ended their relationship in March 2003. After she had cut off ties with Skaf, she was subjected to threatening phone calls and letters. She now says he can "rot in hell".[13][14]

According to Corrective Services Commissioner, Ron Woodham, Skaf has not shown remorse for his crimes. Woodham also says Skaf has warned prison officers to be careful outside of work, as they may be shot.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Gang rapist's horror drawings of girlfriend The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July 2003
  2. ^ a b Pelly, Michael (4 February 2006). "Free by 41 - rape gang leader's shrinking sentence". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Wallace, Natasha (28 July 2006). "Gang rapists re-sentenced". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Sutton, Candace; Duff, Eamonn (8 September 2002). "Rapist's loving family: Where did we fail our son?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  5. ^ Finnane, Justice Michael (15 August 2002). "Sentencing of Bilal Skaf". 4 Corners. Archived from the original on 17 June 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  6. ^ "Shattered fiancee stands by her 55-year man". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 September 2002. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Sentence slashed: gang rapes not 'worst category'". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 September 2005. 
  8. ^ King, David (17 September 2005). "Prison time slashed for gang rapists". The Australian. Retrieved 2008-07-31. [dead link]
  9. ^ Pelly, Michael (17 September 2005). "Judges under fire on gang rapists' sentences". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  10. ^ "Gang rapist Skaf's sentence extended". ABC News (Australia). 28 July 2006. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  11. ^ Crichton, Sarah (11 October 2002). "Puny brother a cowardly bully". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  12. ^ a b "Gang rapist's father accused of offering bribe". Sun Herald. 22 September 2002. Retrieved 9 July 2008. 
  13. ^ a b Gibbs, Stephen (2 August 2003). "Rapist out of sight but not out of mind". The Age. Archived from the original on 8 September 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  14. ^ "Skaf lampoons gang rape". The Sunday Age. AAP. 20 July 2003. Retrieved 4 January 2012.