News

Claire looking for closure

FINAL BATTLE? Claire McFarlane of Byron Bay is fighting a court case in France.
FINAL BATTLE? Claire McFarlane of Byron Bay is fighting a court case in France. Doug Eaton

FOR a decade, Claire McFarlane pushed back the memories of the extremely violent sexual assault that left her for dead on a street in Paris in 1999.

Then, nearly 10 years to the day later, DNA evidence was produced that led to the capture and jailing of the Byron Bay woman's attacker.

While those court proceedings were finalised in 2011, now, almost 16 years after her attack, Claire must return to France to testify for a second time and re-live the assault all over again.

This time her story will be told during an appeal to recoup half of the $30,000 she has spent in legal costs - and her lawyers have also told her there is a chance her assailant may have been given parole after having only served three years of a 12-year sentence.

"Criminal proceedings in France are civil and it is the victim's responsibility to prosecute and pay for all costs associated," Claire said.

This next round of court attendance is likely to cost $4000 to $6000, and before Claire flies to Paris on Monday, she is holding a fundraiser for herself as well as for local services for victims of sexual assault.

Claire was only 21 when she was assaulted.

An unfunded foreign arts student working in a bar to pay her way, the man attacked her on her way home from work and was so violent Claire spent the next three months in hospital recovering from her injuries.

It turns out that the rapist had attacked in the same area a month before Claire was assaulted, but had not been caught.

After the attack, Claire discovered support for sexual assault victims in Paris was minimal, especially for foreigners.

Despite her ordeal, she agreed to take the matter to court 10 years later as the DNA evidence appeared, not knowing the legal hurdles that would await her in France's complex system where the matter had to be run as a civil case, at the victim's expense.

"I had no idea what I was in for (with the court case) but I felt like it was an opportunity to put this behind me," she said.

"It took two-and-a-half years to get to court and there were lots of times where I wanted to give up - but I needed justice to be done.

"It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

"I feel that I have completed a civil duty by taking an extremely violent man off the streets of Paris so that he does not hurt any more women."

The last leg of that fight for justice happens next week. Whatever the outcome, Claire said it will "mark the end" for her, and that she hoped telling her story would help other survivors of rape and assault find strength.

"When I told my story in front of the jury in 2011, I felt as if this huge weight had been lifted from me."

 

To help Claire with her costs

Donate to Claire's GoFundMe campaign at: http://www.gofundme.com/clairesbattletojustice

Join in a day of workouts for every level at Crossfit Byron Bay from 9am tomorrow. Raffles, BBQ, beer and coffee. 12 Centennial Circuit, Arts and Industry Estate.

Funds raised at Crossfit will be shared between Claire and the Lismore Women's Health Resource Centre.

Topics:  rape sexual assault



State MPs divided over calls for flood review

Member for Lismore Thomas George MP at the North Coast TAFE Wollongbar Campus annual Awards of Excellence.

Tweed, Lismore MP weigh into review talks

Pencil in annual leave: Jetstar flights sale on now

There are many escape-to-paradise options with Jetstar's sale.

Cheap flights out of here just before winter starts.

Climbing for Lismore flood fundraiser

The 2017 Lismore Flood

SCU student to climb Mont Blanc for Lismore.

Local Partners

Bring the Ski Jump to Lismore, says MP

PAGE MP and Lismore mayor say if Lennox Head doesn't want the proposed Ski Jump, then bring it to Lismore.


First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

Stories Troy Cassar-Daley carries around

LEGEND: Troy Cassar-Daley after receiving the Golden Guitar Award for Album of the Year during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

You can see him in Ballina this weekend

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Concert death toll revised up to 22

TWENTY-TWO people have been killed and at least 59 people have been injured following a terror attack in Manchester

Nattali Rize at the top of the charts

ARTIST: Australian reggae artist Nattali Rize has Native American and Samoan roots and lives between Byron Bay, Cairns and Jamaica.

Her debut album hit the top at the Global Reggae Charts

Casual Keanu says fame is ‘cool’

Keanu Reeves in a scene from the movie John Wick: Chapter 2.

NOBODY expected much of John Wick when it was released in 2014.

Ariana Grande breaks her silence after fatal blast

According to reports quoting witnesses, a mass emergency evacuation was prompted after explosions were heard at the end of US singer Ariana Grande's concert in the arena.

The entertainment industry is in shock after attack on concert

Pitch Perfect star suing Woman’s Day over ‘liar’ articles

Actor Rebel Wilson outside court on Friday.

REBEL Wilson's career destroyed by grubby campaign, court hears.

First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

Seven Year Switch: The boner to end all boners

Johnny’s outraged over claims he has a cracked boner.

She gulps. Her face says it all.

Bonville to become new housing hub

REZONING: Large areas of Bonville have been rezoned for residential

Land rezoning will turn farmland into housing

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

REVEALED: Where it's cheaper to pay off a mortgage than rent

6/190 Ewing Rd, Woodridge, is listed for offers $215,000. Picture: realestate.com.au

Brisbane suburbs where it is cheaper to buy than rent

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!