Police Officers Charged with Attempted Sexual Assault of Schoolgirl
A Court has heard that two policemen charged with attempted sexual assault of a schoolgirl may be close to pleading guilty.
Senior Constables James Delinicolis and Angelo Dellosa are accused of luring a teenager to a hotel room before committing a range of sexual offences against her.
The charges also include misconduct in public office and recording an intimate image without consent.
The case is next listed on 13 May 2021.
Attempted Sexual Assault Allegations
The prosecution allege that 29-year-old James Delinicolis met a teenager while he was on duty in March 2020. At the time she was waiting for a bus in her school uniform in southwest Sydney.
A few days later he invited her to the Ramada Hotel where a hotel room had been booked. It was there that he is said to have committed the attempted sexual assault, while fellow police officer Angelo Dellosa held her down.
30-year-old Dellosa initially denied the charges in August 2020. At the time, both he and Delinicolis had recently been granted bail by the Court.
At the time both men were working out of the Bankstown Police Transport Command.
During the bail application, the court heard that the pair met the girl on 13 March 2020. Delincolis allegedly tried to anally rape her while co-accused Dellosa pinned her down.
The prosecutor submitted that it was clear the schoolgirl was not consenting, telling the Court that the teenager, "said no several times and was held down against her will by the co-accused."
However, Delincolis' bail application lawyers argued the encounter was entirely consensual. While Dellosa's lawyers argued his alleged involvement was significantly less serious, given he had not invited the teenager to the hotel and was only accused of being involved towards the end of the encounter.
The Police facts sheet set out that the officers also filmed the encounter to watch it later.
Despite granting bail, Magistrate Margaret Quinn said, "I can't say that's a weak case at all."
However, that appeared have changed by March 2021, when their Sydney sexual assault lawyer indicated this may change.
The Downing Centre Local Court was told that the matter may not proceed to trial. Lawyers told the Court that, "there are serious talks of perhaps having this matter finalised by way of sentence, as opposed to going to trial."
The Court heard that prosecutors and defence lawyers had been locked in negotiations to finalise both cases.
Delinicolis was followed outside Downing Centre Court by media, however he did not speak to reporters. Previous articles reported that both men are married with young children.
Both officers have been suspended without pay while their case is ongoing.
Previously, the case had been listed for charge certification on 21 January 2021.
The Magistrate expressed his frustration at the Director of Public Prosecutions after they requested the case be adjourned for at least three months.
The Prosecutor explained that she had only received a 2,000-page brief of evidence and transcripts from NSW Police the day before Court.
"You turned up to court with a code of silence — there is no explanation required other than further inquiries are taking place," the Magistrate said.
The court was told that investigators were searching for WhatsApp videos of the alleged incident. This was despite it being more than six months after the incident.
Documents were also sought relating to the Ramada Hotel in Cabramatta – where it was alleged the offences occurred.
The presiding magistrate granted uplift and photocopy access for all parties.
Attempted Sexual Assault charges in NSW
The definition of sexual assault is engaging in sexual intercourse with another person without their consent. It is contained in Section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
Sexual assault allegations are far more common today than at any time in the past. Community attitudes have changed shifted, in large part due to the #metoo movement. Unsurprisingly, this has made fighting such allegations more difficult than ever before.
One of the most common defences to sexual assault charges is to argue that the alleged victim consented to the sexual intercourse.
However, it is not always possible to run this defence. Certain situations – such as when the alleged victim was too intoxicated to provide consent – would preclude this defence. If an Accused held an honest and reasonable belief that the alleged victim was consenting, then they can be found 'not guilty' of the offence.
Another common defence is identification. If the Crown cannot establish that the Accused was the offender, then the offence cannot be proved. Often experts can be used such as DNA, fingerprint, CCTV and intoxication experts to cast doubt on identification.
A less common defence is automatism. This is where the offending was involuntary and often involves sleep disorders. This defence often relies on expert evidence from a sleep doctor.
The maximum penalty for sexual assault 14 years Imprisonment. There is also a Standard Non-Parole Period which is 7 years imprisonment.
Charged with Attempted Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault charges are extremely serious. The stigma that comes with them is likely to follow a person for the rest of their life. That is why it is important to obtain advice from a specialist sexual assault lawyer who has successfully defended hundreds of these charges.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.