CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses sexual assault.
A man found guilty of raping a woman in a nature reserve has been told he does not have an exceptional reason why he should be released on bail ahead of his appeal to his conviction.
When sentencing Salvatore David Incandela to three years’ jail in June 2022, ACT Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucy McCallum said the “nature of the offending was such as to cause feelings of humiliation and degradation in the victim”.
While his head sentence ends in 2025, he was given a two-year non-parole period which means he is eligible to be released from custody in March 2024.
He represented himself when he applied to be granted bail on Friday (7 September), saying he wanted to live with his sister in Queensland. He argued he had faced difficulties preparing for the appeal while in custody.
At the end of the brief hearing, Justice Michael Elkaim said he was sure that that was correct and he had no doubt being in prison made it harder to prepare, but that was not an example of an exceptional circumstance that had to be proved to get bail.
“So, unfortunately, Mr Incandela, I have no choice but to refuse bail,” he said.
Justice Elkaim said Incandela would have been in prison for about one year when his appeal was heard against a three-year sentence.
The jury in the 41-year-old’s trial delivered a guilty verdict to a charge of sexual intercourse without consent in March 2022.
“I was blaming myself for it. I felt like it was my fault because I went there,” the survivor said of the November 2020 assault.
“I was so scared he was going to get away with it.”
Chief Justice McCallum said the rape took place in public in the view of other people who gave evidence at the jury trial, while a forensic medical examination found it involved a “considerable level of violence” and injured the woman.
His lawyers accepted she could not find Incandela had expressed remorse and she said she understood it can take offenders some time to come to terms with the extent of their offending.
She noted Incandela had expressed the belief he had been wrongfully charged and convicted to the author of a pre-sentence report while also being adamant that the sex was consensual.
If this story has raised any concerns for you, 1800RESPECT, the national 24-hour sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line can be contacted on 1800 737 732. Help and support are also available through the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on 6247 2525, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT on 6280 0900 and Lifeline on 13 11 14. In an emergency, call 000.