Fardon’s release slammed, fears he’ll re-offend
NOTORIOUS sex offender Robert Fardon's release into the community has been slammed by Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington and Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston. But Queensland's top cop said it gave "hope" for rehabilitation.
Ms Frecklington attacked Labor for not adopting the LNP's planned laws which include provisions to GPS track offenders for life, after it was today revealed the 70-year-old serial rapist had last week been released into the community without restrictions.
Fardon will remain a reportable offender for the rest of his life under the State Government's new Dangerous Prisoners legislation. This will see him monitored by police and required to alert them of travel, living addresses and have his phone and internet monitored, but he would not be monitored by a GPS tracker.
"I am deeply concerned that Fardon has been walking free on the streets for the last week and nobody could say anything. Queenslanders have a right to know," Ms Frecklington said.
"We have been calling for Fardon to remain strictly supervised for the rest of his life.
"I also want mandatory GPS tracking of offenders from the day they are released to the day they die, because I don't trust pedophiles to 'self-report' to police."
Under Labor's changes police must apply for an order to use GPS monitoring for a period of time.
They can apply for the order offender is believed to have engaged in "concerning conduct".
The LNP's Bill remains before a Parliamentary Committee which will not report back to the House until March.
There has been no timeframe set for its debate but the LNP would need Labor's backing for it to pass.
"If Labor didn't play politics and passed the LNP's laws, this predator would still be under strict supervision," Ms Frecklington said.
"He is now a free man thanks to Labor's failed approach."
Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said Fardon was among a small percentage of offenders who should never be released from jail.
She said she believed he would re-offend again.
"Always this comes down to a legal contest instead of a moral contest, between his civil rights to freedom against the human rights of the community to be safe and for our children to be protected," Ms Johnston said.
"Unfortunately our kids come second every time and it's infuriating.
"We just shouldn't have to be living in fear of this man. Children deserve much better than that."
Ms Johnston said she hoped police would tell his neighbours and others who were in contact with him about his history.
"He can be in a car and can go and sit on a beach down on the Gold Coast or up in the Sunshine Coast," she said.
"Inside an hour he can be there every day waiting for an opportunity to find a child or anywhere children gather."
In contrast, Queensland's top cop today said Fardon's release into the community showed others there was "hope" for rehabilitation.
"The person that we talk about is described in that judgement as someone who is more than 70 years of age whose health is not good," Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said after the suppression order over the release of Fardon, 70, was lifted.
"They are demonstrating that the system works, that there is hope for people who make reasoned decisions.
"I want to be very clear about this, I do not condone the actions of this person in the way that they have conducted themselves throughout their lifetime but the system that we run as a State is one that is designed to assist people to make better decisions, to become members of our society that don't offend and that's what's occurring in this case."
Commissioner Stewart would not disclose how often Fardon would be personally interacting with police as part of his monitoring.
"I am not going to talk about specific strategies or initiatives that we're taking," Mr Stewart said.
"This person has not been convicted of a criminal offence for a very, very large number of years.
"This person has been at large in the community for a large number of years and they have not to my knowledge committed a criminal offence or breached any requirement that has been placed on them that they have been forced to go to another stage of supervision.
"We, in this State, are part of a rehabilitative system for people who commit offences."