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Echuca man remains behind bars for raping a 15-year-old girl

By Riverine Herald

AN ECHUCA man sentenced to nine years in jail for raping a 15-year-old girl, has failed in a bid to have his conviction quashed after presenting what Court of Appeal judges described as a "wildly Machiavellian thesis".

In August 2018 the Riverine Herald reported Barry Perryman, then 50, was found guilty of raping the girl under the Echuca-Moama bridge.

He had appealed his conviction on the grounds a substantial miscarriage of justice occurred because new and/or fresh evidence was discovered; that his legal advisors during his trial were incompetent and had made some errors in their conduct of the case; and wrong decisions made by the judge during trial.

But Australian Community Media reported Justices Terence Forrest, Karin Emerton and Mark Weinberg not only labelled his case as “utterly devoid of any merit” they also refused him leave to appeal the conviction.

Perryman presented what his lawyer claimed was evidence – a combination of social media messages and affidavits – showing the police who investigated the rape conspired with the victim to plant false DNA evidence at the scene of the rape, or there was reasonable possibility they had done.

The Court of Appeal judges also ruled his claim of incompetent representation failed with his rejected conspiracy theory. The three justices also ruled the trial judge's decision sound as the prosecution could not have anticipated the issues Perryman raised in his original evidence.

The rape for which Perryman was found guilty occurred on August 11, 2012.

After the trial the girl’s mother told the Riverine Herald Perryman had groomed her daughter, got her to meet him at night and gave her a can of Coke spiked with alcohol and possibly a sedative before she became sick and passed out.

“When she woke up, they were down by the river, she had no clothes on and he was raping her,” she said.

“She pleaded with him to stop but he just put his hands over her face and mouth and instructed her not to scream or fight. “After, she was sick some more. He made her get dressed and drove her back home, telling her she had asked for this, she had wanted it, she gave him all the signals and it was all her fault.

“She took three days to tell us what happened she was so traumatised.”

Perryman was arrested in 2016 after being found by police in Tocumwal, hiding inside a secret compartment of his truck with a gun.

When he refused to surrender the weapon and leave the vehicle, police used capsicum spray, before removing him.

In her victim impact statement, the girl said Perryman’s actions had changed her life and who she was forever.

She had known Perryman for about six months and trusted him. “He used and violated me in every respect.

Not just physically but mentally as well,” she said.

“He invaded my body. My personal space which is the worst kind of violation there is. I can never get back the feeling of being safe in my own skin again, something that everyone has the right to feel. He took my trust, innocence and youth and destroyed it that night.

“He told me that I had asked for it, I had sent him all the signals, I had wanted it. This left me so confused. I doubted my judgement. Did I do something wrong?  So I did not tell my parents what had happened and I made up a story to cover. I was second guessing myself.”

The girl also said she suffered from constant nightmares, as well as depression and anxiety.

“I had to change schools due to that harassment and bullying. I wanted to kill myself and suffered terrible depression. I just wanted to go away, to hide.

“My teenage years were destroyed, left in as haze of depression, anxiety and sickness. I never got to be a normal teenager and I cannot go back. I fear the enormity of what happened to me and what was taken from me is only beginning to reveal itself. It is as if the rape is still happening over and over and never stops.

“Barry took my innocence, my trust and my youth and destroyed it, but he took something even more precious, he took and destroyed me.’’