North Coast double rapist fails in sentence appeal

A CONVICTED rapist who attacked two women at knife-point on the NSW north coast has failed to secure an early release from jail.

Desmond Jeffrey Currie is one of many NSW sexual offenders who have appealed hefty jail sentences following a landmark court decision earlier this year but disturbing tales from his past convinced a panel of judges that the 50-year-old belonged behind bars.

The court heard Currie had already served jail time over the rape of a young Tweed Heads woman when he went searching for his second victim at Byron Bay in 2005.

On the night of September 23, he was drinking with a group of travellers at a Byron Bay backpackers when he introduced himself to a young Estonian woman who said she was heading to Sydney to celebrate her 24th birthday with her girlfriend.

Currie told the woman he was going that way to visit his grandmother and offered her a lift for $60, which she accepted.

After driving in the dark for about 40 minutes, the pair stopped at a look out and shared a joint.

The woman told the court she started to feel uncomfortable when Currie drove down back roads and assured her it was "a faster way of getting there".

When they arrived at a clearly abandoned property, Currie told the woman "I want to make love to you" to which she replied "no thanks" and went on to explain she had been with her girlfriend for five years and had never cheated on her.

Currie warned "we can do this the easy way or the hard way" and when the woman struggled to get out of the car, he held a knife to her throat.

He told her "you know how to play the game" and ordered her to perform oral sex until she retched.

He then removed her clothes and raped her before saying he had gotten what he wanted and would continue to drive her.

At Macksville, south of Coffs Harbour, the woman fled from the car at a service station, went to a chemist and bought emergency contraception and boarded a train to Sydney, where she reported the attack to police and provided a DNA sample.

The following year, police matched the sample with fingerprints found on a stolen car at Chinderah.

Currie was found guilty by a Lismore jury in 2007 and sentenced to jail for a minimum of 10 years.

The Criminal Court of Appeal panel noted Currie's lengthy history included 47 break ins, 41 driving offences, eight drug charges, three assaults and eight counts of aggravated sexual intercourse.

Most seriously, Currie had threatened a 19-year-old woman with a knife in her flat at Tweed Heads before he repeatedly raped her in 1994.

Currie claimed the sentencing judge in the 2007 trial had failed to take his troubled background into account.

His mother had been removed from the South-West Rocks Aboriginal Reserve as a child but escaped a children's home and ran back to the North Coast where she was raped by a man at the reserve who became Currie's father.

Currie's lawyers told the court he was repeatedly exposed to violence until he became a ward of the state at age eight.

But the panel found Currie had the support of a stable relationship with his wife for many years and had continued to offend.

It was accepted that even if Currie had been sentenced under a different legislative structure, no lesser sentences would have been imposed.

Currie will remain in jail until at least 2017.