Five rapes. 11 year sentence. Released after eight.
Perhaps the most haunting aspect of Jill Meagher’s rape and murder, a victim of repeat offender Adrian Bayley, is not the occurrence itself, but the fact that it could very easily have been avoided.
All that was needed was a more appropriate sentence for Bayley’s conviction in the early 2000s, when he embarked on a horrendous spree of sexual assault, raping six prostitutes over six months. As mentioned above, Bayley was given an 11 year sentence, and was released on parol after eight.
It’s sickening to consider that a judge would see it fit to imprison a man for less than a seventh of his life (Australian males are currently expected to live beyond the age of 80) for, in all likelihood, ruining the lives of six fellow humans. And what’s even worse is that our legal system allows for it. Not only that, a sentence as short as this is indicative of a system that incredulously allows plausibility for the notion that sex workers invite such victimhood upon themselves by opting for that line of work.
Flawed doesn’t even begin to do it justice.
This abhorrently short sentence allowed Bayley, while on parole for this very crime, to rape a Dutch backpacker and a St Kilda sex worker, mere months before his well-documented rape and murder of 29 year old Jill Meagher.
No wonder it took Bayley’s victims, let alone so many victims of this crime, so long to come forward and seek justice. The possibility of someone who brutally assaulted you being back on the streets in a relatively short period of time, with full knowledge of who sent him to prison, is enough to make anyone think twice about coming forward.
To be fair, our legal system functions with relative efficiency on the majority of occasions, achieving justice for many individuals and groups who use it to pursue their idea of comeuppance. However, these stories of success do not in anyway excuse the fact that, when the system fails, the innocent and victimised find themselves afforded only the smallest modicums of ‘justice’, destined to live out their lives emotionally scarred and rightfully terrified of the world and systems that surround them.
As demented as Adrian Bayley unquestionably is, he made perhaps his only positive contribution to society in dishing out a piece of advice those in charge of our judicial system should seriously consider…
“How many chances does a person need? They should never have let me out.”
Originally published on davidzita.net on 27th March, 2015