Notorious Sydney gang rapist Mohammed Skaf could be granted parole to leave jail within weeks after authorities confirmed it was appropriate in a hearing on Friday.
Skaf, 38, has spent two decades in prison and been denied parole several times since 2018 when he was first eligible for release.
State Parole Authority chair David Frearson told Friday’s parole hearing Skaf’s offences were “clearly horrendous” but there needed to be a safe integration for him back into society.
His full-term custody sentence of 23 years expires in January 2024.
He has now spent more than half his life in prison after he was convicted for a series of terrifying rapes in Sydney throughout 2000 involving another 14 men, including his ringleader brother Bilal.
The State Parole Authority has delayed its decision multiple times as it considered what supervised community reintegration opportunities were available to such a case.
The preferred pathway for Skaf was to participate in an external leave program.
Skaf then would be able to leave for work, education or other approved reasons, but would be supervised at all times and return to prison each night.
But following COVID-19 restrictions, external day leave for all NSW prisons was cancelled from June with no date set for this to resume.
It also remains problematic that Skaf continued to blame his victims and remained “a denier after all these years”, Judge Frearson told a review hearing in February.
No convicted sex offender who had taken part in such disturbing crimes, denied their part in the offending and was considered an above-average risk to the community has been granted status for leave, Judge Frearson said.
Due to the nature of Skaf’s crimes, one of his conditions will be mandatory electronic monitoring, among others.
Skaf must complete a Real Understanding of Self-Help (RUSH) program before the judge said he would publish his decision in coming weeks.
“You need to be very very careful, you stay out of trouble and co-operate, if you’re given parole, you must abide strictly by the conditions,” Judge Frearson told Skaf on Friday.
“If you don’t you have to come back.”
“Of course,” Skaf said.