It was only digital rape, so what’s all the fuss about?

I lived in Brisbane at the time when the Bikeway rapist, Luke James Colless, was attacking women while they were exercising along bikeways and in parks. This happened between 2006 and 2008 to eleven women, five of whom were digitally penetrated.

I remember how Colless terrorised women, many of whom would not jog on their own while he was on the loose. The police had a hard time catching him and in fact he was caught by an alert citizen who saw his car speed away in a suspicious manner. We all breathed a sigh of relief when he was caught and sentenced to 25 years jail for his attacks. So what has the Court of Appeal done just now?

It has reduced the convicted rapist’s sentence by nine years. Why? Well, because the sentence was “manifestly excessive” according to his legal reps, even though he would be eligible for parole after 15 years. And why was the sentence excessive? Because it was only digital rape and not penile rape.

I will never come to terms with the way the law works in favour of criminals. Preying on women was apparently okay. Attacking women by grabbing them and assaulting them by digital penetration was okay too for the Court of Appeal judges because there were “mitigating features.”

Here is the list of mitigating features given by the Court of Appeal:-

Colless’ co-operation with authorities after his arrest;
– his plea of guilty and in doing so, saving the resources of the State and removing the prospect of victims having to give evidence at trial;
– his genuine remorse;
– without his confessions, convictions may not have been obtained for some of the charges;
– absence of any prior criminal history;
– his “promising prospects of rehabilitation”.

The man must be an angel. Why not make him Australia’s second saint? I’m sure we can dig up a couple of miracles in his past. Colless had genuine remorse. Now that makes all those eleven women feel heaps better, I’m sure.

Which brings me to an important point that I want to make. And it’s the overuse of the word “sorry” as if throwing that word around changes anything. Let’s face it, Colless’s defence team would have advised him to put on the mea culpa act.

Nowadays, a drunk driver can commit a hit and run, leave the victim for dead and turn up at a police station the next day with his lawyer and as long as there are masses of Kleenex tissues being bandied about, the driver will get a slap on the wrist. After all, he said he was sorry. Oh, isn’t that nice of him.

What does it take for a conviction to stick? Why do criminals get off with reduced sentences? Why does saying oops, I am sorry, have any place in the legal system at all? We should look at the impact of Colless’s crime and judge how it affected our society for three years and we should convict accordingly.

Eleven women were attacked brutally. Thousands of women in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast lived in fear because of this monster and now he will be let out early so that he can keep on attacking. And believe me, he will. And then when he’s caught again he’ll remember to cry crocodile tears. That should make it all better.

For those of you who are interested in the Court of Appeal’s full decision I am including the URL for it.

I have not changed my mind about the leniency of the sentence and do not agree with Justice Paul de Jersey’s defence of it.


17 thoughts on “It was only digital rape, so what’s all the fuss about?

  1. You would think that having a women on this panell of judges may have made a difference to them constantly mentioning that it was “only” digital rape. I couldn’t give a shit how he raped them he raped them. About him being sorry the only thing he is sorry for is loosing his family and his freedom. His wife wont even let his kids anywhere near him so he is sorry. On the onther hand he is not sorry about doing these thing he is not sorry he has hurt anyone weather that be these women their families or his own just that he on his own now. Stupid git should rot in hell and never be allowed near another human being again.


  2. Hullo again
    I’ve now read the full judgment in the
    R v Colless appeal (not just the bits that the press think we need to know) and have come to the conclusion that it’s not the bewigged ones who should be targets of our outrage–rather the bloody madcap mitigation provisions of the Penalties and Sentences Act by which they are constrained !! Cheers


  3. Max,

    I took your advice and just read the entire judgment too. It horrified me that Colless is getting the soft treatment. As for the other cases mentioned in the appeal I would have given them longer sentences in the first place. I am usually a fan of Justice Paul de Jersey and in fact we had a court case before him which was in our favour, thank goodness.

    In this case, however, I don’t care whether Colless can be rehabilitated or not. He did use violence in his attacks. He did commit brutal crimes and he should serve his sentence. We lived in terror because of this scourge and now he somehow is portrayed as a man who’s truly sorry. I would have dedigitalised him forever as a result of his crimes. In all of the comparisons with previous rapes etc that I read about in the appeal, the victims were just objects to be weighed up and assessed as if they had not been violated at all. I am very disappointed in the decision and reading about it in gruesome detail did not mitigate anything for me.


  4. Do you remember Agent 99 in that TV show “Get Smart”? She used to shake her head at Smart and say “Oh Max…”

    Nice to see you full of contempt. I can relate to that. lol


  5. Well done for linking to the judgment, which puts a lie to the claim that the sentence reduction was because the rapes were digital: see [33].

    Rather, the reduction was largely because of Colless’s early guilty plea. Presumably, you wouldn’t want to ignore those, otherwise there’d be every incentive for rapists to plead not guilty and put complainants through cross-examination, in the off-chance that the case would collapse. So, an appeals court has to make sure that a guilty plea case gets substantially smaller sentence than an equivalent non-guilty plea case.

    The big problem with rape sentencing is that no-one likes to rank a rape as less serious than another one, but they still want recognition when a rape is especially bad. No-one would have had a problem if a rapist got a higher sentence because he raped anally or vaginally, used a knife, etc. But, if you’re OK with a higher sentence in those situations, then you must also be OK with a lower sentence in their absence, right?


  6. Digital rape cannot be treated in the full context of a rape as there is no intention of committing the full offense on the victim. It is a lessor crime. After all no victim would have had lost anything because of the offender’s action. This is a good lesson for women who show off their bodies in a provoking manner. They themselves drag poor men into committing crimes.


    • It is still an assault on a person’s body. Nobody has the right to do this to another person without permission How do you know what the intention of the attack was? Are you saying that if somebody did that to you or to your child it would be okay?


  7. I was really shock with the comments made by rupasena, she is blaming the 11 victims on what happened to them or all the women. Rupasena What do you mean by this…comments ‘No victim would have had lost anything because of the offender’s action” This is a good lesson for women who show off their bodies in a provoking manner. They themselves drag poor men into committing crimes’. Rupacena i pray to God that what happened to those 11 women would not happened to you because as a civilised society men should not do that, and yes, i agree with the mitigating factor is overly excessive, He should really get a life as a lesson to those men who attach women in every way.


  8. Rupasena,

    Thats just insulting. What about children who are digitally raped? Or are you going to tell me that an infant was dressed too inappropriately for ‘your’ taste, and cause the perp to digitally penetrate them??

    Or are my thoughts too excessive with regards to ‘this matter’ of child abuse?


  9. What the justice system also failed to take into account before this creature had his sentence severely reduced was the fact he was sexually abusing his young daughters.

    The rapes appeared to subside periodically while Colless was subjecting these young girls to performing horrendous sexual acts on him. Destroying even more lives, and especially those innocents supposedly under his care and protection to whom he also preyed vicioisly upon.

    A lesser sentence was a slap in the face to all of his victims, including his young daughters. By all accounts he has a self-contained unit which he can watch television 24hrs a day and lock up when he is not there. Hes also biting off futher education studies.

    No doubt the accommodation is some form of inmate protection scheme, but at the end of the day is this good enough for the wake of the victims shattered lives that he’s left strewn behind him? Those that he viciously bashed, raped and preyed upon who now remain in society with the day to day struggle of paying bills, trying to hold a job or get through their schooling while he rests up in a safe, isolated and sterile environment getting a warm bed to sleep in, food and an education of his choosing? Where’s the justice there?

    Then to rub further salt into the wound there’s the looming shadow over his victims that one day this creature will eventually walk free? And well before his time I should add. Not good enough!! This monster will no doubt kill someone when he gets out given half a chance. They do not reform! Track him like the dog he is for the remainder of his days and never let him out of sight. Justice again lets society down, severely!


    • According to a psychiatrist I know, sexual predators can never be rehabilitated. Consequently, they should be kept away from the public, but how can you persuade the judicial system that some criminals don’t deserve to be freed? I have spoken to judges who tell me that they are running out of room in prison and they are being encouraged to limit incarceration because of the cost of keeping someone under lock and key. Therein lies the problem. And I have been told also that if there is a life sentence for sexual predators they might murder their victims for fear of identification. Not an easy problem to solve…


  10. Rupasena, really?? Not lost anything??? How about their dignity, self worth and self esteem, just for a start!!!! Not to mention the ongoing fear they are probably living in and the constant (unwarranted) thoughts about what people like you might be thinking of them. NO WOMAN ASKS FOR THIS!!! You are a truly blind individual who is fostering a dangerous culture where it is accepted in certain circumstances for men to touch women inappropriately and written off as just one of those things. RUBBISH! It is never ok! I don’t care if you are felt up on a bike track, in a dingy club or in your local supermarket, and quite frankly I don’t give a crap what the woman was wearing, if she smiled at the guy or even winked at him. Unwanted sexual advances are bad enough, but to touch or penetrate without consent is unforgivable.
    Read this and educate yourself


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