Double move to block pedophile

By Stephen Gibbs
August 5 2003

The State Government will move to clarify regulations which allowed a child sex offender to work as a security guard for a firm that protects 300 public schools.

But first police will appeal against a ruling by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal that gave the man the right to hold a security licence. They are prepared to go all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

The tribunal found last week that Kevin George Jacobs should not have been refused a security licence on the basis of his convictions for having sex with two 14-year-old boys.

Tribunal member Sigrid Higgins, sitting alone, ruled that Mr Jacobs was not subject to a mandatory rejection of his application because his crimes did not constitute “assault” under the relevant legislation.

Ms Higgins also rejected an earlier finding that Mr Jacobs was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

Mr Jacobs pleaded guilty in April 2000 to two counts of having sexual intercourse with a male aged between 10 and 16, and served 12 months of a two-year sentence.

His application for a security licence was initially refused by NSW Police on the basis that it was against the public interest; and refused again after an internal review found granting Mr Jacobs a security licence would be illegal because of his crimes.

Mr Jacobs went to the tribunal, where his lawyer successfully argued he be allowed to work for his former North Coast employer, All Points Security, but only in the control room.

A conviction for most assaults within the past 10 years automatically precludes the granting of a security licence, but many sex offences fall outside the technical definition of assault.

The Police Minister, John Watkins, said the tribunal’s interpretation of the law was wrong, but he would change the regulations if they were not clear.

“The ADT decision is wrong, it’s interpretation is misguided, and it will be appealed,” Mr Watkins said.

“I’ll take it to the Supreme Court if necessary to ensure this convicted criminal is stripped of his licence.

“I’ll be working with the Attorney-General to clarify the regulations and ensure any confusion over these powers is removed.

“The legislation clearly says the commissioner can revoke any security licence if he is of the opinion that the licensee is no longer a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

“The Government ensured the commissioner was given these important powers, and we won’t allow them to be taken away or diluted by the ADT.”

The Police Commissioner, Ken Moroney, said an appeal was already under way.

“I’ve lodged an appeal and instructed my police prosecutors to proceed with the appeal . . . This goes to the heart of the very safety and wellbeing of the community,” Mr Moroney said.

Pedophile cleared for schools job

By Stephen Gibbs
August 4 2003

A convicted child sex offender has won the right to hold a security licence and work for a company that guards 300 public schools.

The Police Commissioner, Ken Moroney, is angered by a tribunal ruling that in effect found Kevin George Jacobs – who was jailed for two years for having sexual intercourse with two 14-year-old boys – was a fit and proper person to hold the licence.

Applicants for a security licence are disqualified if they have an assault conviction in the past decade, but the Administrative Decisions Tribunal found that Mr Jacobs’s sex crimes did not legally constitute assault.

Now Mr Jacobs, of Tweed Heads, is free to work for All Point Security, based in Murwillumbah.

Mr Moroney had originally refused Mr Jacobs’s application for a Class 1ABC security licence because it would be contrary to the public interest. Mr Jacobs appealed, and an internal police review found that not only was issuing him a security licence contrary to public interest, but his criminal convictions meant his application legally had to be refused.

Again he appealed, this time to the tribunal, which last week found that he could hold a Class 1A security licence.

This authorises him to “patrol, guard, watch or protect property, including the guarding of cash in transit or to carry on such other activities as may be described by the regulations”.

But All Point Security, which employed Mr Jacobs before his conviction, guaranteed he would now work only in its control room and administration.

“On this basis it cannot be said that Mr Jacobs is not a fit and proper person to be issued with such a licence,” the tribunal’s Sigrid Higgins ruled.

Mr Moroney said he would appeal vigorously. A barrister for the commissioner had argued that Mr Jacobs’s job description was not restrictive enough because Mr Moroney could not enforce it and the man could change employers.

The Security Industry Act prohibits a person being issued with a security licence if the commissioner is satisfied the applicant “is not a fit and proper person to hold the class of licence sought”.

The commissioner must also refuse a licence if the applicant has in the past 10 years been convicted of an offence “involving assault of any description”.

But Ms Higgins ruled that while the offences were serious, Mr Jacobs was never charged with any form of “assault”. It appeared that the relevant legislation was not intended to include sexual offences, she said.

In April 2000 Mr Jacobs pleaded guilty in Lismore District Court to two counts of sexual intercourse with a male person under the age of 16 and above the age of 10.

The previous year he had performed oral sex on two 14-year-old boys, one of whom he had known for nearly three years and with whom he had formed “a strong emotional attachment”. He had previously given that youth $20 to remove his clothes.

Police who searched Mr Jacobs’s home seized books containing pictures of naked boys, similar photographs and videotapes showing male-on-male sex.

In a covering letter to his security licence application in August last year, Mr Jacobs said his criminal conduct had stemmed from his state of mind at the time.

In August 1998, he said, his partner of six years had left him and two nights later he witnessed a double motor vehicle fatality which left him deeply traumatised. As well, his stepfather had suffered a terminal illness and died.

In his application, Mr Jacobs said his life had now “settled down” and he believed he had been fully rehabilitated.

This was supported by evidence from his doctor and parole officer, and references from his former employer, who wanted him back. Mr Jacobs’s barrister had submitted that the public would be afforded greater protection from him if he was in stable employment.


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