Former Newcastle Anglican dean Graeme Lawrence has lodged an all-grounds appeal against his conviction and jail term for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy at the Christ Church Cathedral deanery in 1991.
Lawrence, 77, who was earlier this month jailed for a maximum of eight years, with a non-parole period of four years and six months, lodged a notice of intention to appeal with the Court of Criminal Appeal on Monday.
Lawrence, who was the second-most senior Anglican in the Newcastle diocese, was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault after a judge-alone trial in Newcastle District Court in June. For Lawrence, the first hurdle in the appeal process will be an assessment from Legal Aid NSW, who will determine whether or not there is any merit in appealing the former dean's conviction and sentence.
Lawrence is not eligible for parole until April, 2024, and will remain behind bars during the appeal process.
The judge-alone trial heard the victim, Ben Giggins, was helping a youth band to pack up equipment in the Cathedral on a Saturday or Sunday evening in 1991 when Lawrence approached him and invited him back to the deanery on the premise that other young people had gathered there for a party that evening.
After arriving, Lawrence took him into a room with framed photos of naked boys on the walls.
Lawrence asked Mr Giggins if he liked the photos, to which he replied "no"'.
Lawrence pulled Mr Giggins' shirt over his head and removed his pants.
He fondled the complainant's genitals and asked if he liked it but he said "no".
Lawrence then forced Mr Giggins to the ground and sexually assaulted him.
After the assault, Lawrence warned Mr Giggins: "Don't bother telling anyone. You're just a boy and I am the Dean. No one will believe you."
During his detailed judgement, Judge Tim Gartelmann, SC, said Mr Giggins' evidence had a "high degree of credibility generally" and his account of the events comprised detail with the "clear ring of truth".
Whereas Judge Gartelmann found Lawrence's evidence "lacked credibility generally" and his denial of the events left no reasonable doubt that they occurred.
Mr Giggins has said the Royal Commission into institutional abuse gave him the confidence to come forward.