News

Saffin sex attack 'designed to humiliate', court hears

By Sam McKeith

THE victim of a "humiliating" sexual assault on the NSW north coast was told by his attacker that he was less than a man because he could not get an erection during the ordeal, a court has heard. 

Edward "Ned" Saffin, 32, is facing sentencing on 13 charges related to a sex attack on another man near Lismore in July 2015, including several counts of indecent assault and aggravated sexual assault with deprivation of liberty. 

Saffin is the son of former federal member for Page Janelle Saffin.

At a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, the court heard Saffin had been smoking marijuana and taking ice with the victim before the incident that occurred after the pair left a house, near Lismore, in a car together. 

While inside the car, Saffin forced the victim to touch his penis then "engaged in oral sex" with the victim while grabbing his head, the court was told. 

The court heard that during the assault the victim gagged and cried, with Saffin at one point telling him "you're not f****ing leaving the f***ing car". 

The Crown submitted that Saffin subjected the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, to an ordeal "designed to humiliate". 

"He (Saffin) told him he wasn't a man because he wasn't getting an erection," the Crown told Sydney's Downing Centre District Court. 

"It must have been an awful situation to be in ... to be forced to ejaculate in that circumstance, and that's what happened to him." 

The court heard Saffin suffered from a range of mental health conditions including autism and ADHD, and had a long-standing history of drug use. 

Despite his mental problems, the Crown argued Saffin understood the victim had not consented to the offending conduct. 

"It was obvious that (the victim) was visibly crying initially ... It shows a clear signal to the offender that he must have known (the victim) was not consenting," the Crown said. 

Saffin's barrister, Phillip Boulten SC, described his client's actions as "relatively serious", but also pointed to his "cognitive impairments". 

"It is accepted that what the accused did is a relatively serious example of the offending charged," Boulten told the court in his submissions. 

"It is moderated, to some degree, because of the causative impact of his thinking, stemming from his cognitive impairments." 

The court heard Saffin had no previous history of sexual offending and continued to have the support of his family, including his parents. 

Earlier, Janelle Saffin told the court she became increasingly concerned about her son's "wild behaviour" since he was about 12 years old, noting it coincided with the start of drug use.

"He was never normal," she said. 

Judge Peter Whitford reserved sentence until May 5.

Topics:  downing centre district court edward saffin lismore northern rivers court sex attack sexual assault


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