Australia Day beer bottle rape: Accused avoids jail in 2015 rape case

By @shauryaarya1 on
Arrest
Men are handcuffed after they were detained by police during a police anti-illegal drugs operation in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines November 9, 2016. Picture taken November 9, 2016. Reuters/Czar Dancel

A man co-accused in an unconscious man’s rape on Australia Day has been given an 18-month sentence. The sentence, stemming from the incident that occurred at a 2015 Australian Day party in Brisbane, was given at the Brisbane District Court on Thursday.

Frazer John Eaton, 23, and three of his friends sexually assaulted the victim, 18, who was drunk and passed out. Eaton had held the victim’s shoulders. One of his friends held the victim’s legs, the other videoed the incident and another assaulted the victim with a beer bottle.

Brisbane District Court Chief Judge Kerry O’Brien said the assault was not Eaton’s idea. Additionally, the accused had not been involved in the insertion of the bottle.

“It must be said it is a most unusual offence in many respects,” O’Brien said. “This was not conduct carried out for any form of sexual gratification - or intention to inflict physical harm... Rather [it was] extremely foolish and juvenile behaviour carried out in the context of excessive drinking.”

As reported by AAP (via 9News), the victim was humiliated and hurt after pictures of the incident were posted and shared on social media. "I didn't want to appear on social media like I was upset, but I was actually feeling shocked and thought, 'holy s---, what the hell?'" the victim’s statement, read in the court, said.

The victim learned of the pictures the following day when screenshots were sent to a group chat he was a member of. The court heard that the victim did not sustain physical harm. He also played cricket with Eaton and one of the co-accused after the assault.

Eaton is a former surf lifesaving representative and Australian rules footballer. Last Friday, he pleaded guilty to the crime. Defence attorney Michael Byrne QC said Eaton felt remorseful over the incident. "This is a complete one-off, out-of-character act of stupidity whilst intoxicated, without any intention to harm or to obtain sexual gratification," he said.

Although his sentenced was scheduled to be handed down that same afternoon, O'Brien said “further thought” would be given to the matter. When announcing the sentence, the judge said he took into consideration Eaton’s plea of guilty.