Notorious gang rapist Mohammed Skaf is set to remain behind bars for the time being after his final bid for freedom hits another roadblock as his long prison sentence is nearing its end.
The 37-year-old is fighting for outdoor vacation after spending two decades behind bars after he and his older brother Bilal led the infamous Skaf rape gang that attacked young women on the verge of a rampage for four weeks prior to the 2000 Olympics.
Mohammed Skaf, dressed in prison green, video-linked from the Junee Correctional Center Friday before an NSW State Parole Board hearing in Parramatta.
He listened carefully and waited to see if his last commandment for freedom would be granted.
But Skaf has to wait another four months before a decision can be made and a plan can be formulated on how to safely reintegrate into society.
He has a C2 classification which must be downgraded to the minimum safety classification C3 in order to be eligible for daytime leave or outside leave that includes educational purposes or work.
No prisoner has ever been granted this rating if he has committed multiple sexual offenses, continues to deny responsibility, and is seen as an above-average risk of reoffending.
At the hearing on Friday, State Parole Authority Chairman David Frearson SC said that something had to be done.
« Skaf has been in jail for so long, and when a path is exhausted and cannot be reached, obviously something has to be done, » he said.
« You can’t just let someone into the community (without gradual release and testing), it’s too difficult. »
He said authorities would need to consider the next most suitable course and Skaf would need « considerable time » on probation.
Skaf would need to demonstrate exceptional circumstances in order to get vacation after the Serious Criminal Review Council advised against it.
His lawyers will try to bring up exceptional circumstances, saying there is a « question mark » as to whether an outside vacation would ever be approved.
Skaf, then 17, and his brother Bilal led a gang of at least 14 other men who committed a series of rapes in August and September 2000. His gang raped at least six school girls, some of whom were only 14 years old.
He has repeatedly denied responsibility, blaming his victims for the series of rapes that shocked the country.
He was sentenced to 22 years, 11 months and 30 days in prison. His prison sentence expired on January 1, 2024. He was granted parole in January 2018 but had turned down several parole requests.
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