Mohammed Sanoussi, the notorious Skaf gang rapist, gave the briefest of smiles when he found out he was soon going to be a free man.
It has been a long journey to freedom for the 29-year-old who has been in jail since he was 16 after getting convicted of rapes that shocked the country.
He has applied for parole four times and it was initially granted a fortnight ago, on the condition he did not associate with the Brothers For Life gang.
But it was revoked a day later when it emerged that his two brothers were charged with brutally bashing a cleaner at Revesby in Sydney’s southwest within hours of his hearing.
The State Parole Authority said Sanoussi’s post-release accommodation was unsuitable because his brothers, who are known gang members, lived there.
On Thursday, with his head shaved and wearing his prison greens, Sanoussi listened attentively at his parole hearing as the famous Sydney barrister Charles Waterstreet argued that he had paid the price for his actions and that parole should be reinstated.
“He was been long inside, he has done all the courses,” Mr Waterstreet told the hearing in Parramatta on Thursday.
“It’s not his fault his brothers acted in this way.
“The delay is something that would aggravate someone who was supposed to be out.
“His parents probably need to see him as much as he needs to see them.”
Paul Nash, who was representing Corrective Services, tried to delay the parole until there was stability in his living arrangements but this was rejected.
After a considering period that lasted no longer than two minutes, judge Terence Christie conceded that his brother’s crimes had nothing to do with him.
He ordered that Sanoussi be released next month and by October 10 at the latest.
He ordered that he live in a half-way house until he finds independent accommodation or until his two brothers move out of the family home.
Sanoussi was also told not to be in contact with his two brothers Ahmed and Mahmoud Sanoussi, unless he gets permission from his supervising officer.
Sanoussi was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in the August 2000 gang rapes of young girls in isolated Sydney locations.
The attacks involved 14 men and were led by brothers Bilal and Mohammed Skaf.
Bilal Skaf is serving a 36-year prison term, while Mohammed Skaf is serving a 23-year prison term.
The parole authority has said it expects to free another member of the notorious gang, who can only be identified as Offender H, at a separate public hearing next month.