Lismore Barrister Nicolas Harrison.
Lismore Barrister Nicolas Harrison. Jay Cronan

Division over sex offences

A PROMINENT Northern Rivers lawyer has slammed the accuracy of statistics used in discussions of sex crimes.

Barrister Nicolas Harrison disputes a figure recently reported in The Northern Star that 85% of sex assault victims never report the attack – and believes it is not possible to know how many such assaults occur.

“You hear the figures that every one in four women will be sexually assaulted in their life but I have never seen any papers that state that,” Mr Harrison said.

“It's just a story that someone has said and everyone repeats as gospel.”

The number of convictions for sexual offences in the past five years increased by 25%. But most reported offences are historical and difficult to prove, Mr Harrison believes.

“It's when you don't have the ‘ripped clothing, blood and mud' that you have the difficulty,” he said.

Nicolas Harrison is a barrister in private practice in Lismore and was admitted to the bar in 1971

He was the deputy solicitor for Public Prosecutions from 1982 until 1986, when he was appointed a Crown Prosecutor

He is a veteran of 700 Supreme Court and District Court trials

He is a legal officer in the RAAF



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