NSW Government Calls For Review Of Consent Laws After Huge ‘4 Corners’ Report

Last night, Four Corners aired an investigation into the high-profile Luke Lazarus rape trial.

Five years ago almost to the day, Lazarus had anal sex with an 18-year-old woman in a laneway outside his father’s club in Kings Cross.

Whether or not that sex constituted rape played out in two trials over the next several years. The first court found him guilty of rape. Then, his retrial overturned that and the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal decided in 2017 that he should not face a second retrial because it would “give rise to oppression and unfairness”.

As is the case with most trials of this nature, the identity of the female victim had been withheld to protect her privacy. But last night, Saxon Mullins spoke publicly for the first time since the incident, sharing her story with Four Corners in the hope that it’d reignite a much-needed discussion about consent.

“There’s something I need to get off my chest,” Mullins begins in the ep. “You might have heard the story; what happened in the laneway behind the nightclub in Kings Cross. I am that girl. Those awful things happened to me. I was 18.”

The report is heartbreakingly compelling and Mullins’ courage in coming forward is awe-inspiring.

The effect of her bravery is already playing out, with the NSW Government this morning referring the state’s consent laws to the Law Reform Commission following the investigation.

According to the ABC, Mullins’ story has “disturbed” New South Wales Attorney-General Mark Speakman.

“[Saxon Mullins has] been humiliated in an alleyway at the age of 18, she’s had to tell her traumatic story in court, she’s had to face two trials, two appeals, and still, no final outcome,” Mr Speakman said.

“From her viewpoint, the whole process has been, I imagine, just a huge disappointment.

“What this shows is that there’s a real question about whether our law in New South Wales is clear enough, is certain enough, is fair enough. That’s why I’ve asked the Law Reform Commission to look at the whole question of consent in sexual assault trials.”

Mullins said the Attorney-General’s decision to refer the relevant consent laws to the Law Reform Commission “makes me feel like I did this for a reason. It wasn’t all for nothing”.

“Maybe someone else won’t have to spend five years fighting to get nowhere,” she said.

Speakman commended Mullins for speaking out.

“This young woman’s bravery in coming forward and sharing her story is commendable. The delay and uncertainty in this matter was unacceptable,” he said.

Hear, hear.