DPP won't appeal Knox old boy decision

·3-min read

A judge's controversial decision to erase the assault convictions of a former Knox Grammar student will not be appealed.

Nicholas Drummond, 21 this month, received a 14-month good behaviour bond but was spared conviction after drunkenly punching two people in Sydney's lower north shore in December.

He'd earlier called one victim a slut and told her to "put your tits away", leading her to repeatedly confront him.

The other victim was hit from behind while he was queuing outside the pub from which Drummond had been ejected.

Judge Sutherland in September found the junior soccer coach was remorseful, acted out of character and had suffered a difficult year due to his father's illness, his dog's death and a relationship breakdown.

He'd also heard a suggestion the offender was so overcome emotionally after punching the woman that he'd threatened to jump off a car park.

In erasing the convictions set by a Hornsby magistrate, the judge cited a 2012 legal precedent involving a man caught with 20 tablets of ecstasy at a music festival.

On Wednesday, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said it had given close consideration to the availability of an appeal against Judge Sutherland's orders.

Such an appeal could only occur where the sentencing judge "has made a decision outside the limits of their functions and powers, or has done something which they lack power to do", a spokeswoman said.

"The Prosecution Guidelines available on the ODPP website outline the relevant criteria to be considered when determining whether to lodge an appeal, which include whether the appeal has a reasonable prospect of success," she said.

"The Director has been unable to identify any appealable error in this matter. Accordingly, the Director has decided not to appeal."

Judge Sutherland's decision, first reported by AAP, sparked widespread outrage and condemnation from anti-violence campaigners.

Attention was also drawn to the judge's remark that the drunken Drummond had made "a lewd and completely inappropriate remark" to his female victim who he didn't know "but whose dress, by virtue of what is attributed to him, might have been perceived by a 20-year-old former student from Knox to be provocative".

"This sort of decision sends a very dangerous message to the community and a very permissive message to those who choose to use domestic and sexual violence and victim-blaming," Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia chief executive Hayley Foster said last week.

The female victim said the overwhelming public response "made me feel that some sort of justice has been served as it was evident I wasn't alone."

Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes expressed disbelief at the court's decision, saying "you think you're reading a judgment from the '50s".

"Do I need to warn my daughter that she needs to wear a tennis skirt, lest the boys at Knox become overwhelmed because of their particular sensibilities? Because, according to this judge, boys from Knox feel it's appropriate to refer to a woman as a slut if a woman is showing more skin than they deem appropriate," she told AAP.

Drummond has issued an unconditional public apology to those hurt by his actions.

"I do not seek public forgiveness, but know I will have to work hard towards earning a second chance in life. Whatever I need to do, I will strive to do it," he said in September.

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