Bravery award winner jailed for rape
DOUBLE bravery award winner Michael Patrick Williams has been sentenced to three years' jail for the rape of an intoxicated woman at a house party.
The 51-year-old Yamba man had been found guilty on two counts of sexual intercourse without consent against the then 28-year-old victim.
Flanked by his family, Williams' sentence was handed down by Judge Jonathan Priestly at Coffs Harbour District Court on Wednesday afternoon.
He was sentenced to three years prison with a non-parole period of one year and eight months.
The court heard Williams raped the woman who was unconscious on a couch on two occasions at the party at a home in Yamba in June 2018.
According to court documents, she reported the assaults to police around two weeks later.
Williams had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
A DNA profile taken from the victim's underwear could not conclusively be linked to Williams, and it was determined the 'major contributor' was not Williams.
Following a judge-alone trial in May, Williams was found guilty of the offences.
In his sentencing this week, it was heard Williams had also been drinking on the night, however Judge Priestly said Williams "definitely knew" about the lack of consent from the victim.
Judge Priestly took into account Williams' diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, said to be the result of the sinking of the trawler Sea Rogue off Byron Bay in 2008.
Williams, a deckhand on the trawler, had made headlines when he survived a 10-hour swim to shore.
Following the incident, which saw the death of Sea Rogue captain Alan Picton, Williams was awarded a bravery medal from Governor-General Quentin Bryce as well as a Royal Humane Society of NSW Bronze Medal.
Williams later published a book and featured in a short documentary based on the experience.
He will be eligible for parole in March 2022.