Pedophiles escape full weight of law

Gary Hughes

Friday, June 23, 2006 (8:06am)

Here’s two more of those cases that make you wonder on whose side are the judges. In Melbourne a convicted child sex abuser has avoided being added to a sex offenders’ register and having his movements monitored thanks to a legal loophole that’s been upheld by a Supreme Court judge. And in Adelaide a judge has refused to invoke a law jailing for life a pedophile who fantacised about eating the internal organs of young girls, which means he could be free in little more than a year.

Dacian Neisser avoided being added to Victoria’s Sex Offenders Register because he was serving a suspended jail sentence at the time it came into force in October, 2004.

Authorities wanted to add him to the register because he had been convicted on March 11, 2004 of three counts of sexual penetration of a child aged between 10 and 16. He was sentenced to eight months in jail, fully suspended for 12 months, by a County Court judge.

Police tried to add him to the register in January last year, but a magistrate ruled that because Neisser was serving a suspended sentence, he didn’t come under the new legislation which allowed for “existing controlled registrable offenders” to be added to the list. The magistrate said that being on a suspended sentence wasn’t the same as being “controlled” or supervised by anyone in particular.

Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions appealed against the decision, but on Wednesday Victorian Supreme Court Justice Kim Hargrave upheld the original decision.

The judge said he accepted that parliament had intended offenders on suspended jail sentences to fall within the new law, by the legislation didn’t say that.

He said that although Neisser would have gone to jail if he had committed an offence while on a suspended sentence, he was not being “supervised” by authorities.

“In my view, supervision involves the act of supervising,” he said in his judgment. “The fact that some action may be taken against a person if certain events occur in the future does not involve any active supervision of that person.’

The judge said the purpose of the legislation was to require “certain offenders” to be registered, not all offenders. You can read his full ruling here.

If Neisser had gone on the register he would have had to notify authorities of his address and car registration details and would not have been able to work in jobs or be involved in clubs that gave him access to children.

Last week Gotcha reported that Victoria’s Office of Police Integrity had found flaws in the way the Sex Offenders Register was operating.

In Adelaide convicted pedophile Robert John Walker, who fantasised about eating the internal body parts of girls, could be walking the streets as early as August next year after a judge refused to invoke a law jailing him indefinitely.

In what’s enough to give any parent nightmares, Walker secretly compiled lists of names and addresses of schoolchildren he had spotted in suburbs around Adelaide. The 42-year-old truck driver from the northeastern suburb of Athelstone prepared contracts for principals and children to sign, giving him permission to rape and whip girls.

But despite the gruesome nature of his fantasies, Walker was charged with possessing 800 images of child pornography. In the Supreme Court of South Australia, judge Ann Vanstone yesterday sentenced him to three years and two months in prison, with a non-parole period of 22 months backdated to his arrest in October.

You can read The Australian’s report on the case here.

So what do you think. Do you think judges are taking community concerns about pedophiles seriously enough? Or are they out of touch?


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