The evil men do and the courts that ignore it
One of the first of the sadly limited number of court cases arising from the death of Dianne Brimble on a Pacific Sky cruise came to an end this week.
Its conclusion achieved nothing, other than to reinforce the public belief in the cavernous divide between community standards and the sentencing practices of the judiciary.
While there are other cases on the horizon which cannot legally be the subject of discussion here, the unsatisfactory conclusion of this week’s case involving one of the “Brimble Eight”, the execrable Leo Silvestri, has raised the worst case scenario surrounding the shocking death of this young woman.
Namely that the plodding nature of justice and the pernickety application of the law – all these things may conspire to ensure that no-one faces any genuine punishment over that fact that a woman was left for dead in a drugged stupor on the cold linoleum floor of a cheap cruise ship.
The judgment in the Silvestri case stands as another example where a judge will issue a stinging series of remarks condemning the shameful conduct of the accused, and then not actually give them a sentence.
The facts in the Silvestri case paint a picture of a man who is essentially a maggot.
You might recall that Silvestri is the member of the Brimble Eight who in a taped police interview told the cops that his only regret was the Brisbane mother of three had “f***ed up his holiday” by dying in his cabin.
Silvestri was in court this week on a charge of concealing a serious offence.
Immediately after Brimble’s death, knowing that she had taken the drug GBH, Silvestri lied to the police saying that no drugs had been consumed, but offering his services as a “star witness” who was prepared to cooperate with any investigation and testify against any accused on the condition he was granted indemnity from prosecution.
It was a total dog act, a waste of police time and resources, and ultimately an attempt to pervert the course of justice in his capacity as an indemnified witness who would have been going into court with the intention of lying to protect his mates and himself.
NSW District Court Judge Greg Hosking let Silvestri have it in his sentencing remarks this week, saying not only did he omit the truth, he went further and lied to the police.
He also said it “simply beggars belief” that Silvestri claimed he did not think the police would need to know that the drug had been taken.
“The offender did not only not tell police about the supply of GBH, or fantasy, but he actually told them a falsehood,” he said.
And after letting Silvestri have it, the Judge let Silvestri off, saying that “being callous or insensitive is not a criminal offence.”
He gave him a 13-month suspended sentence for his despicable part in this terrible story.
Another member of the Brimble Eight, Ryan Kuchel, was last week given an even more lenient penalty - an 18-month good behaviour bond - for the same offence.
Outside the Sydney court this week, Silvestri had a grin from ear to ear. And why wouldn’t he. The law had just shown itself to be an ass by covering his.
Dianne Brimble’s former husband Mark gave a brief radio interview after the (non) sentence was handed down.
“It’s horrible to find out today that two people who slowed this whole process down and added to the agony and pain that the family have gone through have basically got a slap on the wrist and told to go home again,” he said.
The hollow result of this court case will obviously be felt most acutely by the Brimble family, but the rest of society has every right to feel disappointment and anger too.
The courts had a chance to reflect the public’s total disgust at the flint-hearted indifference of Silvestri to the death of a woman who he treated as some inanimate sexual prop, knowingly left to die, and when confronted by the reality of her demise, channelled whatever thoughts he could muster with his atrophied mind to his own self-protection.
The courts have in this case shown themselves to be kind of indifferent too.
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