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System 'failed' child sex offender: Supreme Justice

A BUNDABERG sex offender has been detained in prison after a rehabilitation program necessary for release was not offered.

Brisbane Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth hit out at the legal system he upholds after being left with no option than to hold the offender.

The offender, now 28, had served terms of imprisonment for two sets of sexual offences against adolescent boys, rendering him a serious danger to society.

But it was not the sexual misconduct that troubled the judge.

"It is unfortunate, to say the least, that the respondent was not offered, and did not undertake, sex offender programs in the second half of 2017 and throughout 2018," Justice Applegarth said.

"If he had completed them satisfactorily he might have been paroled in 2018 or subject to a supervision order in late 2018.

"Instead, he must be detained in custody for treatment he should have received during his term of imprisonment."

The offender was first jailed for child sex crimes at the Maryborough District Court in February 2013 and again in December 2016.

In June 2017, the offender found himself back before the courts having breached probation and pleaded guilty to indecently treating and grooming children under 16.

His suspended sentence was partly invoked and he was sentenced to eight months in prison with a parole eligibility date of October 11, 2018.

The offender had undertaken a number of psychological assessments while in custody, with psychiatrists deeming him a hebephile, which is defined as one who is sexually attracted to adolescent males. however, the required sexual offenders' program had not been made available.

While the offender had completed some training courses in prison, including responsible service of alcohol, certificates in cleaning and a hospitality course, he had not been offered programs to rehabilitate his sexual offences.

A provisional diagnosis found the offender had borderline mixed personality disorder, anti-social features and substance abuse disorder.

It was recommended by doctors that the offender undertake the high intensity sexual offenders' program that delivered treatment with three sessions a week over 39 weeks.

"The respondent is a serious danger to the community ... at this time, adequate protection of the community can only be ensured by a continuing detention order," one doctor's report stated.

Justice Applegarth made the order to detain the offender on the basis that he would be offered a place on the "Getting Started: Preparatory Program" commencing January 2019.

"If he completes it and is willing to participate in the HISOP, a HISOP place will be offered in April 2019," the judge said.

"If he does not receive the treatment which is anticipated in early 2019, then the matter should be listed for review before me or another judge.

"If, through no fault of the respondent, he is unable to complete a HISOP by late 2019, the matter should be reviewed to consider the early making of a supervision order with intensive, individualised treatment for his needs.

"His annual review should be listed for an early hearing."

Justice Applegarth said if the system had offered the offender the much-needed HISOP place sooner, he could have completed the program already.

"Unfortunately, and despite the fact that the respondent has been in custody since June 2017 (when his parole was suspended), he has not been approached to undertake a sexual offender treatment program, and during that lengthy period he has not been offered a placement on the HISOP," he said.

"He probably would have been released in late 2018 on a supervision order.

"The system having failed the respondent and the community in this way, regrettably he must be detained in custody for treatment."



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