Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Karen Sweeney

Rapist husband challenging jury verdicts

An ex-White Ribbon ambassador jailed for raping his wife is appealing against his convictions. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

A former ambassador against domestic violence jailed for years of brutal abuse and rapes of his then-wife is challenging his convictions, claiming a mistake by the trial judge.

Jon Seccull was sentenced to 15 years behind bars for the years of offending against his former wife Michelle Skewes, who has given AAP permission to name her.

An ex-White Ribbon ambassador, Seccull was found guilty by a jury of nine charges of rape, two of assault and one of threatening to cause serious injury between 2011 and 2015.

He continues to deny all wrongdoing and is challenging the jury's verdicts in the Victorian Court of Appeal.

The jury found the former corrections officer made degrading sexual demands of his then wife and punished her even when she complied.

"I'm your husband and I can f***ing touch you whenever I f***in' want. You are mine," he once told her.

The Ballarat man's cruelty and oppression of Ms Skewes was vile and sadistic, Judge Frank Gucciardo said in handing down the sentence.

But it's remarks he made to the jury that Seccull's barrister Paul Holdenson KC says should prompt three appeal judges to overturn the convictions.

Judge Gucciardo had directed jurors that they could use evidence in the case to understand the true nature of the relationship between Seccull and Ms Skewes.

At the same time, the prosecutors were contending that there was no consideration by Seccull of Ms Skewes' feelings, wishes, wants or needs and that he was persistent in his pursuit of his own sexual gratification.

Mr Holdenson said the direction invited the jury to consider that it was Seccull's propensity to commit the acts he was charged with.

He said the appeal judges could not be satisfied that Seccull would have been convicted, had the jury been properly directed that evidence about other misconduct was not to be used as tendency evidence.

It's also argued that there was "excessive interference or involvement" by the trial judge in the questioning of witnesses, and that the judge appeared to identify with the prosecution.

Another appeal ground alleged a substantial miscarriage of justice through an aggregate of errors.

Diana Piekusis KC for the prosecution said it would have been preferable for the trial judge to have linked some specific evidence to the direction but in her view it wasn't necessary.

"The direction was sufficient and there certainly wasn't any risk of misuse of that evidence," she said.

The judge's direction did not damage the verdict, she said.

White Ribbon Australia says Seccull no longer has a role with the organisation, which relaunched in 2020 after going into liquidation the previous year.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.