Edward 'Ned' Saffin leaving Lismore Court House in 2011.
Edward 'Ned' Saffin leaving Lismore Court House in 2011.

Saffin appeals jail sentence for 'depraved' sex attack

EDWARD "Ned" Saffin has lost his appeal over the sentence imposed on him for a brutal sex attack that took place near Lismore in 2015.

In 2017 Saffin who is the son of Lismore MP Janelle Saffin was sentenced to 14 years in jail, with a non-parole period of nine years, on 13 charges.

His appeal was heard in the Court of Criminal Appeal Supreme Court NSW in August and a judgment dismissing the appeal was handed down on September 29.

The appeal was lodged on three grounds that the sentence was manifestly excessive, that the sentencing judge erred in sentencing Saffin on the basis that he was reckless as to whether the victim consented, and in his treatment of Saffin's mental condition when it came to the assessment of his moral culpability.

In making a judgment on the appeal, Justice John Basten recounted Saffin's "depraved" crime.

On the night of July 4, 2015, Saffin sexually assaulted a 19-year-old man over several hours.

The victim was drinking alcohol in the lead-up to the attack, but was not drunk.

He smoked ice and cannabis with Saffin that evening, and Saffin told the victim that he "always" carried a knife.

Saffin then invited the victim to his Richmond Hill home, and the victim agreed and got into the front passenger seat of his car.

Saffin told him he had a gun in the car.

But instead of driving to his home, Saffin took the teenager to an isolated area where he sexually assaulted him in a terrifying attack that lasted three or four hours.

The victim repeatedly tried to stop the attack; he was crying, he gagged, "felt frozen" and vomited.

As he sexually assaulted the victim, Saffin called him his "little bitch" and his "little whore".

After the attack Saffin drove the teen back to Lismore and made him write down his email address and phone number.

The victim ran to a friend's house where he banged and kicked the back door and window so loudly they thought the house was being raided by police.

Once inside the house the victim ran to the sink and vomited a number of times.

The police were called and the teenager was taken to hospital.

He was crying, distressed, hysterical, aggressive, and had trouble talking and breathing.

The defence team said Saffin, who has autism spectrum disorder, was "unable to comprehend that the victim was not consenting", despite the implicit threats, actual restraints and the victim's explicit statements that he was not consenting.

However Justice Basten said there was no evidence that Saffin's conduct was the result of autism spectrum disorder, and there was no basis for thinking that the disorder affected his understanding of the victim's objections.

He also dismissed the appeal on the other two grounds, saying the "sentencing judgment was clear, well structured, detailed and free of error".

"Given the level of violence and the period of time over which the offending took place, no basis for a complaint of manifest excess is established," the judgment explained.

Saffin will be eligible for parole in 2025.

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