An infamous gang rapist who took part in a series of horrific attacks on young women with his three brothers has been on day trips to shopping centres, has a partner and is completing a university degree by correspondence.
But the man, known for legal reasons as MMK because he was 16 at the time, has been refused parole. Authorities have said he first needs to experience weekend leave and learn how to live in the Australian community.
On Thursday, the State Parole Authority heard the man, now 30, had a partner he wished to marry and, if released from prison, would live with his mother in Lakemba, in Sydney’s south-west.
He is part-way through a bachelor of business degree via the University of Queensland and has undertaken numerous self-improvement and rehabilitation courses.
But Judge David Freeman and a panel of four others refused parole, noting that day trips to shopping centres and psychologist appointments with a chaperone were not enough to prepare him for “normal community life”.
Judge Freeman said MMK had never lived in Australia as an adult, having been taken into custody two weeks after he turned 16.
He came to Australia just a few years earlier from Pakistan. Having spent all his adult life in prison had left him “institutionalised”.
Reports on his day trips, including to a Westfield shopping centre in the pre-Christmas rush last year, had been positive, the court heard.
But the panel said it wanted to see how he handles himself for longer periods of time in the community before granting parole.
“A night away from prison is a huge step for a person who has only been in the community as a child,” Judge Freeman said.
The attacks in 2001 and 2002 horrified Sydney. The girls, aged 16 and 17, were threatened at knife point and sexually assaulted. When they broke their silence, it was revealed up to 18 women had been raped by the same men.
MMK and his brothers, dubbed the “K” brothers, were sentenced to between 15 and 24 years’ imprisonment.
MMK was sentenced on April 22, 2004, to a maximum of 22 years’ jail for nine counts of aggravated sexual assault in company. He was given a non-parole period of 13 years.
He later pleaded guilty to having intercourse with a child between the age of 10 and 16 years and was sentenced to 12 months’ jail, a term wholly subsumed by the gang rapes sentence.
While he was the youngest of four brothers, he was ranked the second worst offender after the eldest brother, MSK, who was 24 at the time.
MMK first became eligible for parole on July 31, 2015. He appealed against its refusal, arguing he could not complete a prerequisite external leave program required because his security classification was too high.
He has since been given the lower classification of C3, meaning he is allowed to visit his mother’s house and other approved locations under supervision of a sponsor or family member during the day.
However, he will need to be reclassified before he will be allowed weekend release.
MMK appeared via video link from Long Bay prison. His parents and fiancee were in court to support him.
The authority will reconsider MMK’s application for parole in July.