The Law Behaving Like An Indulgent Parent
'Thief Raped Behind Bars' (The Weekend Bulletin 8/1/2000)

A thief who stole more than $30,000 in jewellery will walk free after spending 176 days in custody for the robbery and taking $750 from a police station.

Judge John Newton granted the man, 27, leniency in suspending his 18-month jail term after six months because he had been a victim of the system by being raped in the Southport Watch-house as a 13-year-old.

Damien Renea Prosser and another youth were sexually assaulted in a vicious attack by convicted rapist Raymond Garland in a watch-house cell in 1987 after Prosser was detained on a relatively minor matter.

Judge Newton told the Southport District Court yesterday he had been appalled by the treatment Prosser had received as a minor and would do what he could for him.

The court was told Prosser, who stole $30,700 worth of merchandise from a Broadbeach jewellery store on June 18 last year, also had been cheated by the system in gaining an addiction to amphetamines while in jail.

"You have been the victim of a very serious failure as a part of the system," said Judge Newton. "I am going to do what I can for you because I'm absolutely appalled by the conditions of the attack on you while in custody and.., recognise the effects of that."

Prosser, who has a lengthy criminal history, pleaded guilty to charges of stealing, fraud and taking tainted property.

The time he had spent in pre-sentence custody for the offence equated to the six-month jail term.

In sentencing Prosser, Judge Newton warned him he would not be treated with the same leniency if he continued to run astray of the law.

Prosser and another man, who is still on the run from police, took a display of jewellery when a store assistant agreed to a request to value a ring and went to a back room.

Prosser pawned one of the rings for $200 three days later with a female accomplice posing as his partner. The woman previously had been fined $500.

While being detained at Southport police station for questioning, Prosser took $750 from a pile of $1400 in cash.