Distressing Gympie District Court story offends

THERE is a distressing story in today's paper from the current Gympie District Court sittings.

It concerns ongoing sexual offences committed on a young child at the hands of a Mary Valley man, who was this week sentenced to jail.

The story drew quite a number of outraged comments from the public on The Gympie Times Facebook page, some offended by the wording of the actual offence, and some accusing this newspaper of sympathising with the accused man.

To suggest that The Gympie Times in any way condones or sympathises with the perpetrator of such heinous offences could not be further from the truth.

I am a mother of four and was sickened, as were many readers, by this case. It was a difficult and distressing one for our reporter to sit in on and write about.

Much as we wanted to, we were unable to name the man because to do so could inadvertently reveal the identity of his victim, which is not only illegal, but could further traumatise the child, which nobody wants.

The wording of the charge he was convicted of - "maintaining a sexual relationship” - is beyond our control; it is a matter for the justice system. It is neither the right nor the role of the media to sanitise the wording of criminal charges. To do so would be false reporting.

Gympie Times


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