Posts Tagged ‘Castlemaine’


Forde – William Craig

Rape victim wins $139K compensation

Updated 17 Jan 2008, 4:54pm

A County Count judge has ordered a convicted rapist to pay more than $139,000 compensation to his victim.

50-year-old William Craig Forde was sentenced to an indefinite term in jail last year.

The court was told he kidnapped a woman identified as “Jessica” in Ballarat in 2006.

He held her captive in her car for almost 30 hours and repeatedly raped her.

Judge Tom Wodak said he accepted “Jessica” suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the attack.

Despite being ordered to pay compensation, Forde may not be able to pay the full amount.

His only asset is a rural block of land, that may have to be sold to pay his legal fees.

His prison term will be reviewed in 16 years.

Jessica’s lawyer Katalin Blond says now the compensation order has been made, steps have to be taken to enforce it.

“Jess is grateful in the acknowledgment of the court’s judgement but understands that there’s certainly a long road ahead in enforcing that judgement,” she said.

“I would imagine that that issue probably won’t be resolved for at least 12 months.”

Court gives life term to ‘depraved’ rapist

Updated 13 Dec 2006, 3:03pm

A man who repeatedly raped a woman from Ballarat, in central Victoria, will spend the rest of his life in jail.

The 29-year-old woman was kidnapped and raped at knife-point over a 30 hour period in February, in at attack Detective Paul Jolly of Ballarat police says is the worst he has seen in 24 years.

“This would have to be the nastiest incident I’ve dealt with,” he said.

William Craig Forde, 49, was today sentenced in the County Court in Ballarat to an indefinite jail term.

Judge Wodak said the offences were of a gravity rarely seen, and Forde showed little potential for reform.

The victim described Forde as an animal.

“As much as you can characterise somebody like this, then that’s the way to say it, depraved, deviant,” she said.

She says she will try to use her experience to help other rape victims.



Criminal history of William Craig Forde:

September 8, 1988 — raped a 31-year-old woman neighbour at knifepoint in her
Thornbury home. Forced her to drive him to a primary school where her children
were waiting, but she was able to escape and call police.

June 1, 1989 — convicted in the County Court of two counts of rape, indecent
assault, intentionally causing injury and car theft. Sentenced by Judge Cullity
to a maximum five years’ jail with a minimum of three years.

August 24, 1990 — released from jail after remissions of one- third off the
sentence for good behaviour, which were then applicable.

June 20, 1991 — aggravated rape at knifepoint of a woman who had come to his
outer suburban home to pick up some ironing. The 57- year-old woman was punched
in the face and had her wrists and ankles tied with twine during the attack,
which lasted more than 30 minutes. She escaped by locking herself in her car
after he ordered her to leave the house with him and said he was “taking her
for a ride”.

November 15, 1991 — convicted in the County Court of aggravated rape,
aggravated indecent assault, intentionally causing injury and false
imprisonment. Sentenced by Judge Stott to 10 years’ jail with a minimum of
seven years.

November 26, 1996 — refused parole because of his unwillingness to participate
in a sex offenders’ treatment program in jail.

July 11, 1997 — again denied parole.

March 24, 1998 — released from jail on expiry of his maximum sentence (less
remission of one-third, which applied when he was sentenced in 1991 but was
abolished the following year).

September 28, 1998 — raped a 13-year-old girl, who was attacked when Forde
took her for a walk at Whittlesea after driving down a dirt track and leaving
his partner in the car. Forde was arrested six weeks later at a Queensland
caravan park.

September 30, 1999 — convicted of rape and sentenced in the County Court by
Judge Stott to a maximum of seven years’ jail with a minimum non-parole period
of five years, including 326 days already remanded in custody.

September 18, 2002 — told he would not be paroled when his minimum sentence
expired because he refused to do the sex offenders’ program.

November 19, 2003 — denied parole.

December 1, 2004 — again denied parole.

August 4, 2005 — refused parole again.

November 7, 2005 — released from jail on expiry of his maximum sentence.

February 6, 2006 — raped a young shop assistant in the back of a Ballarat shop
after tying her wrists and ankles behind her, gagging her and cutting off her
clothes with a knife. Forde then stole the 23-year-old mother’s car, bundled
her into it at knifepoint and drove her around central and northern Victoria
for the next 29 hours. She was raped repeatedly during her ordeal before being
driven back into Ballarat and let out of the car.

May 12, 2006 — appeared at Ballarat Magistrates’ Court for a preliminary
hearing and said he was guilty of 22 counts of rape and two charges of armed
robbery, one of abduction and one of false imprisonment.

Other convictions:

Disobeying traffic control signal, unlicensed driving, exceeding .05,
assaulting police, resisting arrest, obtaining financial advantage by




O’Neill - Robert James - Photo



O’Neill has pleaded guilty in the County Court in Bendigo to three counts of indecent assault committed against a teenage boy in the mid-1970s.

He will be sentenced in the County Court in Melbourne on August 18.

Pedophile jailed for 15 years

November 19, 2004 – 12:36PM

A child molester who hid behind his role as a sports coach in country Victoria to prey on 23 boys over two decades has been jailed for more than 15 years.

Sixty-year-old former Castlemaine football and basketball trainer, Robert James O’Neill will serve a minimum non-parole term of 12 years.

County Court judge Liz Gaynor today fixed a maximum term of 15 years and two months.

O’Neill pleaded guilty to 34 charges including rape, indecent assault and gross indecency on children between 1972 and 1996.

His cover of respectability in the central Victorian town was finally blown in July 2002, when one of his victims named him as the man who had assaulted him 10 years before.

O’Neill later admitted to abusing boys aged between eight and 16, most of whom were members of his football or basketball teams.

Judge Gaynor sentenced O’Neill today, telling him: “The determined and systematic exploitation of your victims was abhorrent”.

O’Neill’s crimes were “clearly predatory, militating against (a psychologist’s) notion that your conduct had been opportunistic and naive sexual experimentation”.

O’Neill had targeted boys in a small country community – where he himself had spent most of his life – and where sports clubs were a vital part of the community, Judge Gaynor said.

The judge said she took into account the fact that O’Neill had suffered a stroke two weeks after he was charged. His frailty and age would make prison life difficult.

But the judge said 12 victim impact statements had made distressing reading.

She said O’Neill’s victims still suffered from considerable emotional trauma and many were on anti-depressants and had difficulty in forming relationships.

O’Neill had caused “widespread and deep-seated suffering to many families,” Judge Gaynor said.


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Castlemaine paedophile finally jailed


13 Aug, 2010 04:00 AM

A CASTLEMAINE man who sexually assaulted a young girl more than a decade ago has finally been brought to justice.

John Robert Hunter, 74, was this week sentenced to a minimum term of 18 months’ jail after being found guilty on two charges of committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child under the age of 16.

His name and details will also be placed on the sex offenders’ register for the next 15 years.

During a gruelling trial in the Bendigo County Court earlier this year, the victim told the court that Hunter made her wear a woman’s size blue dress and then sexually assaulted her when she was a young child during the 1990s.

Hunter pleaded not guilty to the two charges plus a range of others relating to the young girl and her older sister.

Both girls were called to give evidence during three separate trials, which the family said were riddled with problems and left the victims, now aged 18 and 25, both physically and emotionally distressed.

During the first trial held in May this year, both girls were called to give evidence about the sexual assaults that related to the oversized blue dress.

Both girls said Hunter made them wear the dress before he sexually assaulted them.

The older girl gave evidence in relation to three charges including two counts of sexual penetration and one count of an indecent act, while the younger gave evidence in relation to two counts of an indecent act.

The jury found Hunter guilty on the charges relating to the younger girl, but acquitted him of the three relating the older girl.

The next trial, which related to a number of charges solely concerning the older girl, began, but was deemed a mistrial after the defence asked the police informant a question that could have infringed on the rights of the accused to a fair hearing.

A retrial was ordered to begin the following day, but the girl felt she was unable to be cross-examined for a second time and the case was adjourned indefinitely.

The third trial related to 11 counts of sex offences in regards to the younger girl.

The jury found Hunter not guilty on all counts.

The verdicts angered the girl’s family, who after the trial wrote a letter to numerous people and organisations including Attorney-General Rob Hulls, trial Judge Michael McInerney and the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

“I cannot adequately describe the crushing weight that two small words can impose upon an individual,’’ the girl’s father wrote.

‘‘The utterance of the words “not guilty’’ from the foreman of the jury bought chilling, painful howls from (the younger girl) on each occasion that sounded almost physical – from the bottom of her gut.

“That these wonderful, beautiful girls riven with a toxic combination of fear, guilt, shame and embarrassment had the strength to come forward at all and face their demon is a testament to their courage and strength.

“I had encouraged these children to have faith in the justice system, which I believe has failed them.’’

The family said it was disappointed that a bulk of the evidence police had gathered was pushed aside and not presented before a jury because the defence had argued it painted Hunter in a lesser light.

“Something is manifestly wrong with a system that falls over itself to protect the rights of the accused to a fair trial while doing little to afford the people who have the intestinal fortitude to come forward with the same right,’’ the father wrote.

On the two counts of indecent assault, Hunter was sentenced to three years and two months’ jail with a non-parole period of 18 months.

Family angry at court treatment of Hunter’s victims


13 Aug, 2010 04:00 AM

THE family of the two girls who accused John Robert Hunter of sexually assaulting them when they were children says it is disappointed in the way the girls where treated during the trial.

The family said it was particularly disappointed in the lack of facilities and resources at the Bendigo Law Courts for victims of sexual assault cases who are called to give evidence.

The two girls, who now live interstate, were required to attend the trial in the Bendigo County Court, which, according to the family, was originally scheduled to take five to seven days.

However, during the first day the defence successfully separated the case into three separate trials before three separate juries, so that each girl’s accusations could not influence the separate juries.

The three trials ended up taking four weeks.

During that time, the girls and their family were holed up in two motel rooms and then, after the first week, a two-bedroom apartment.

When they did attend court to give evidence, the girls’ family said there were no provisions for victims and that they were left outside the court, where the defendant often walked past them.

“This was most humiliating for them,’’ the girls’ grandfather said.

“Could there not have been a room for the victims to wait to give their evidence away from prying eyes?’’

During a trial, victims are often put through the “gut-wrenching rigours’’ of testifying and are often cross-examined by the defence.

For the older girl in the Hunter case, the issue was compounded when, because of an inappropriate question asked by the defence to the police informant, the case was deemed a mistrial.

For the case to be reheard, the girl would have had to have been cross-examined for a second time, something her grandfather said she felt physically and emotionally unable to do.

As a result, the prosecution was forced to discontinue with the charges.

The family also questioned the use of an old CD player to play a recording of Hunter’s police interview to the court.

The girls’ grandfather said the device’s volume was not adequate, which made the interview very hard for the jury to hear and understand.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Rob Hulls said the government had passed legislation to ensure that victims of sexual assault could have their evidence recorded to avoid coming into contact with the accused.

She said the state budget had provided $2 million for a Legal Services Masterplan to assess the future needs of all Victorian courts, including Bendigo.

Hunter was this week convicted of two counts of committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child under 16 (the younger girl).

He will serve at least 18 months in jail and will be listed on the sex offenders’ register for 15 years.

The charges date back more than a decade, when the victim, now 18, was a young child.

Man for trial: sisters sex claim


16 Dec, 2009 04:00 AM

A CASTLEMAINE man accused of the repeated rape and sexual abuse of two sisters, one aged just three, has been ordered to stand trial.

After a three-day hearing in the Bendigo County Court, the jury committed John Robert Hunter to stand trial over the alleged sexual abuse of two sisters during a period spanning nearly a decade.

Hunter is not related to the two girls.

The assaults are alleged to have occurred when one victim was aged between seven and 12.

The other girl was aged between four and nine.

The 73-year-old retired painter is charged with offences alleged to have occurred between July 1991 and August 1999.

He faces 25 charges, including multiple counts of sexual penetration of a child under the age of 16 and performing an indecent act with a child under 16.

He is also charged with single counts of performing an indecent act in the presence of a child under 16, and the attempted sexual penetration of a child under 16.

During a committal hearing in the Bendigo Magistrates Court in May, the court was told Hunter became a trusted friend of the family and would often take the girls on day trips to Bendigo.

Hunter would often give the girls chocolates and sweets, an act the girl’s parents would sometimes feel uncomfortable about.

“He sort of treated our kids as if they were his grandchildren,” the girl’s father told the court during the committal hearing.

After hearing evidence from a clinical and forensic psychologist and a neuropsychologist, the jury decided Hunter was mentally capable of standing trial.

He will return to the Bendigo County Court in May.

Child rape claim denied

9/05/2009 9:04:00 AM

A MAN accused of the repeated rape and sexual abuse of two sisters, one aged just three, says he is innocent of all charges.

John Robert Hunter formally entered a plea of not guilty yesterday following a day-long contested committal hearing at the Bendigo Magistrates Court.

The 73-year-old faces 25 charges, including multiple counts of sexual penetration of a child under the age of 16, and indecent assault.

The girls have accused Hunter, who is not related to them, of repeated rapes and abuse during the 1990s.

Police contend that the assaults started when the older girl was aged seven and her sister just three.

Yesterday’s committal hearing centred on the older girl, now 24.

The woman gave evidence via videolink to a closed court for nearly 90 minutes.

Afterwards, her parents spoke, with the girls’ father telling the court Hunter would often take his children on day trips to Bendigo.

“John became part of the furniture of your house?’’ defence lawyer Rod Willcox asked.

“Eventually, yes, he did,’’ the girls’ father said.

He told the court he often found Hunter “odd,’’ but put it down to a man living alone.

“(There was) a general feeling he was a little different,’’ he added.

The man said Hunter would often give his children chocolates and sweets, an act he and his wife were sometimes uncomfortable with.

“It got a little out of control,’’ he said.

After he warned Hunter to stop feeding the young girls following a reprimand from a dentist, the girls’ father said Hunter only became “more clever’’ in the way he gave them gifts.

“He was a persistent person, John,’’ he said.

“He sort of treated our kids as if they were his grandchildren.’’

Both parents spoke of an incident when the older daughter, aged about eight at the time, and her friend had a barbecue at Hunter’s home.

“(Our daughter) came home and told me Mr Hunter had done something,’’ the girls’ mother said.

“She just said something had happened.’’

The court heard that the younger daughter was about three when she came home and said she had seen Hunter naked.

When confronted, the then 59-year-old said he had accidentally dropped the towel on his way to the bathroom.

Six years later, the girl told her parents she had seen pornographic material at Hunter’s home.

Both parents said that as the years went on, the children began saying they didn’t want Hunter around for dinner any more.

Neither asked them why.

Magistrate William Gibb said he was satisfied the evidence was of sufficient weight for Hunter to appear before the County Court.

When asked how he was pleading, Hunter said: “Not guilty, sir.’’

Hunter will reappear at court on June 2 for a directions hearing at the Melbourne County Court.

As a condition of his bail he was barred from contacting witnesses or attending international points of departure.


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