Parole call on Skaf gang rapist delayed

·2-min read

Notorious gang rapist Mohammed Skaf will have to wait another four months to learn if his fifth bid for parole is successful, after the decision was delayed again.

The 37-year-old has spent two decades in prison for participating in a series of terrifying rapes in Sydney throughout 2000 involving 14 men and including his ringleader brother Bilal.

Skaf's case for release was considered by the State Parole Authority on Friday, after it was put off in February to consider what other supervised community reintegration opportunities were available to him.

On Friday, the SPA again reserved its decision for the same reason.

Authorities are hoping Skaf is granted gradual release under structured supervision into the community so he can effectively integrate with society after serving more than half his life in prison.

A looming concern is how to create a safe pathway for this to occur while his potential parole period dwindles.

Skaf became eligible for parole in January 2018, 16 years into his 22-year sentence, but he has been denied freedom four times.

His full prison sentence expires in January 2024.

"The worrying aspect of it is, that Skaf has been in custody for such a long time and obviously if one pathway is exhausted and can't be achieved, then clearly something needs to be done," SPA chairperson David Frearson said on Friday.

The Serious Offender's Review Council on Friday again recommended against his release, but said Skaf's prison classification would be reassessed in July.

If it is downgraded, Skaf may become eligible for an external leave program, which means he would be able to leave prison for day trips.

The prisoner would be able to leave for work, education or other approved reasons, but would be supervised at all times and return to prison each night.

However, no convicted sex offender who had taken part in such disturbing crimes, denied their part in the offending and was considered an above-average risk to the community has been granted status for leave, Judge Frearson told a public hearing in February.

At the same hearing, the SPA heard Skaf continues to blame his victims, despite the abundance of evidence heard during his trial.

"He remains a denier after all these years, he's done the (sex offenders) program, he's still a denier," Judge Frearson said.

"What's it going to take for him to acknowledge some responsibility?"

At 17-years-old Skaf and other members of his gang would lure teenage girls away from public places with the promise of smoking marijuana.

Some were then detained and repeatedly sexually assaulted over hours and in various locations.