Daniel Morcombe murder trial jury -guilty all charges


GUILTY ALL CHARGES-WHAT A RELIEF AND WHAT A BASTARD-CAN NOW BE REVEALED HE IS WAS A SERIAL SEX OFFENDER

Brett Peter Cowan found GUILTY murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003

Brett Peter Cowan found GUILTY murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003

At a 2011 coronial inquest into Daniel’s disappearance, Cowan admitted he had been abusing children since he was a child of nine or 10 years old himself.

By the time he was 18, he had preyed on up to 30 children.

Many of them were targeted at a local swimming pool in fleeting encounters in order to avoid detection.

His first conviction for child sexual offences was for an attack on a seven-year-old boy in Queensland in 1987.

While performing community service at a playground, he took the boy into the public toilets and molested him.

After two years on the run, he was arrested and sentenced in 1989 to two years in jail for indecent dealing.

Four years later, while living at a caravan park in Darwin, Cowan attacked again.

A six-year-old boy was looking for his sister, but when he approached Cowan, Cowan took him into bushland and molested him so violently the victim suffered a punctured lung from choking.

Cowan left the boy to die in an old car, before the child staggered into a service station naked, dazed and bleeding.

Cowan initially denied any involvement, at one stage telling detectives: “I hope you catch the bastard.”

He confessed only after police told him they had found DNA evidence.

In late September 1993, Cowan pleaded guilty to gross indecency, grievous bodily harm and deprivation of liberty, and was sentenced to seven years in jail.

When he was released on parole in 1998, Cowan moved to the Sunshine Coast to live with relatives and became involved in the Christian Outreach Church, through which he met his former wife.

The pair married in 1999, and by December 2003 they were living in Beerwah with their baby son, but Cowan had cut ties with the church and the marriage was strained.

On December 7, 2003, Cowan spotted his next victim on the side of the Nambour Connection Road waiting for a bus.

He was a fresh faced boy called Daniel and he was wearing a red shirt.

Cowan once looked into the eyes of Daniel’s parents, Bruce and Denise, and said: “I had nothing to do with Daniel’s disappearance, nothing at all.”

He told the brazen lie while giving evidence at a coronial inquest into the teenager’s disappearance in March 2011.

The guilty verdicts bring to an end the biggest police investigation in Queensland’s history and Australia’s biggest missing person’s case.

The jury in the murder trial of the man accused of killing Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe has retired to consider its verdicts.

Daniel Morcombe Discussion Page here

Daniel Morcombe in the T shirt he was wearing when went missing.

Daniel Morcombe in the T shirt he was wearing when went missing.

Daniel was abducted and murdered on the Sunshine Coast in 2003 and his remains were found in nearby bushland in 2011. previous posts and daily coverage of trial here

Brett Peter Cowan, also known as Shaddo N-Unyah Hunter, has pleaded not guilty to murder, indecent treatment of a child, and interfering with a corpse.

Brett Peter Cowan is accused of murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003.

Brett Peter Cowan is accused of murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003.

Update 13/03/14

JURORS deciding the fate of Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe’s accused killer are deliberating for a second day.

The six men and six women on the Supreme Court jury retired at lunchtime on Wednesday to consider their verdict in the trial of Brett Peter Cowan.

They left the Brisbane courtroom after Justice Roslyn Atkinson told them they may consider a manslaughter verdict.

They deliberated for three and a quarter hours on Wednesday before the court was adjourned for the day.

Justice Roslyn Atkinson began proceedings this morning delving into the undercover police operation.

She told jurors they cannot use against Cowan his right to remain silent when he was arrested.

Justice Atkinson told the jury it had been a long trial with a lot of evidence.

She said jurors could check any facts of the case while considering their verdicts.

Justice Atkinson has provided jurors with a question trail to help them reach verdicts.

Earlier this week, prosecution and defence lawyers gave their final submissions.

In the past four weeks, more than 100 witnesses have given evidence at the trial.

The court heard police found the schoolboy’s remains at an old macadamia farm at Beerwah in 2011.

Seventeen bone fragments were found after one of the largest searches undertaken by police and State Emergency Service volunteers.

Defence lawyer Angus Edwards said there was no proof Cowan killed Daniel and the alleged confessions recorded by undercover police were made up.

Mr Edwards said it was more likely convicted child rapist Douglas Jackway killed the schoolboy.

“For a fellow like him to be driving down that stretch of road past Daniel Morcombe would have been like a snake going past a wounded mouse,” Mr Edwards said.

“He stalked, abducted and killed Daniel Morcombe, and if you accept that, all the other evidence in this trial will fall into place.”

He said Jackway’s sexual assault of a boy in 1995 had striking similarities to Daniel’s case.

He owned a blue car, and a blue car was seen by witnesses circling and stalking the teenager as he waited for a bus, Mr Edwards said.

The car “wasn’t always in the same position. It was stalking Daniel Morcombe”, he said.

The inevitable conclusion, Mr Edwards said, was that Jackway was involved in Daniel’s abduction.

He said although there was no direct evidence of the convicted paedophile’s involvement, the jury should draw inferences.

But prosecutors said that scenario was a red herring and Cowan’s confessions were truthful because of their detailed nature and gravity.

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne said Cowan alone led police to Daniel’s remains and his confessions were not forced.

Mr Byrne said despite Jackway’s horrendous crimes, he was a “cheap target” and there was no evidence he was on the Sunshine Coast that day.

Justice Atkinson told the jury yesterday to put out of their minds anything they have seen, heard or read about the trial outside of the courtroom.

“The evidence is what you’ve heard in this court and not recollections of what you might have read in the newspaper or seen on television or heard on the radio at some time during the past or even during the trial,” she said.

“You should dismiss all feelings of sympathy or prejudice against the defendant or anyone else.

“Nor should you allow public opinion to sway you, you must approach your duty dispassionately.”

A Look back at the key developments in the murder case of Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe.

December 7, 2003:

Daniel Morcombe, 13, vanishes while waiting for a bus under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass on Nambour Connection Road at Woombye on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. He was on his way to go Christmas shopping when he disappeared.

December 7, 2004:

About 1,000 people attend a memorial service to mark the first anniversary of Daniel Morcombe’s disappearance. A special plaque is also unveiled at the site.

October 4, 2004:

A $250,000 reward is posted by the Queensland Government for information leading to an arrest or conviction.

February, 2005:

Parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe launch the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to continue their message on child safety.

December 1, 2008:

A record $1 million private reward is offered for new information about the disappearance.

April, 2010:

The State Coroner receives an extensive investigation report, containing thousands of pages, from police regarding the suspected death.

October 13, 2010:

A coronial inquest led by State Coroner Michael Barnes begins. The inquest is held in Maroochydore and Brisbane. It adjourns on April 6, 2011.

August 13, 2011:

Brett Peter Cowan, 41, is arrested and charged. Police and State Emergency Service volunteers search bushland in the Sunshine Coast hinterland as part of the investigation. Over the next two months, a pair of shoes and human bones are discovered. DNA results confirm they belong to Daniel Morcombe.

November 26, 2012:

Cowan’s committal hearing begins in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

December 7, 2012:

A funeral is held for Daniel Morcombe at St Catherine of Siena Church at Sippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast, nine years to the day since he disappeared. He was laid to rest at Woombye Cemetery.

February 7, 2013:

Cowan ordered to stand trial in the Supreme Court of Queensland. He is charged with murder, indecent treatment of a child and interfering with a corpse.

February 10, 2014:

Cowan’s trial begins. It is expected to take six weeks. A pool of about 100 potential witnesses may be called to give evidence.

Brett Cowan, portrait of a monster

March 13, 2014 – 2:31PM

The little boy was looking for his sister. He was six and dressed only in a pair of underpants as he wandered alone through the BP Palms Caravan Park on the Stuart Highway on the outskirts of Darwin.

The little boy lived in the caravan park with his family. Brett Peter Cowan lived in a neighbouring van.

Around dusk on a Thursday night in September 1993, Brett Cowan, then aged 24, approached the boy and asked him if he wanted to go for a walk to see an old car wreck abandoned in the bush not so far away.

The pair left the trailer park, climbed through a hole in a wire fence and walked along a scrubby bush track. When the little boy asked Cowan how far it was to the wreck, the young man swung him up on to his shoulders for the final 200 metres.

Cowan then lay the boy on the upturned rust bucket, pulled the boy’s underpants down and dropped his own shorts.

About an hour later, the boy, naked and filthy now, stumbled through the dark back into the BP Palms service area. Northern Territory Supreme Court documents reveal he was dazed and distressed.

In intensive care at Royal Darwin Hospital the extent of his injuries became apparent. A collapsed and punctured left lung, haemorrhaged eyes, a bloodied nose, abrasions across his face, a deep cut in his scrotum area.

A doctor said the boy’s “combination of injuries was consistent with his having sustained a complex series of injuries involving an asphyxial element, blunt force injury, sharp force injury and anal penetration”. The boy’s wounds were heavily contaminated with carbon-containing material, “consistent with contact with a heavily ashed bushfire area”.

After initially denying any involvement, Brett Peter Cowan made a full confession. He told police that he needed help.

But just how much help did he get? It’s a question that many will be asking about the 44-year-old, who on Thursday was found guilty in Brisbane’s Supreme Court of murdering 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe on the Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003.

In Queensland’s highest-profile criminal case ever, Cowan, the father of three young boys, now awaits Justice Roslyn Atkinson’s sentencing decision.

It might be little consolation to Daniel’s heartbroken and weary parents, Bruce and Denise Morcombe, that Cowan denies molesting their son. “I never got to molest him or anything like that; he panicked and I panicked and grabbed him around the throat and just before I knew it, he was dead,” Cowan confessed to an undercover police officer in Perth in August 2011.

“I was starting to pull his pants down … and he said, ‘oh no’, and he started to struggle..” Cowan told the officer. In a later conversation, he said, “… if I didn’t panic I could’ve been there for an hour doing stuff.”

Whatever jail term Justice Atkinson settles on, it will be Cowan’s third for crimes against boys. He was sentenced to two years’ jail in 1989 after indecently dealing with a seven-year-old boy. Cowan was 18 when he took the boy into a public toilet in Brisbane and molested him.

In June 1994, he was sentenced to seven years’ jail for his crimes against the little boy in Darwin. But by 1998, only four years later, Cowan was out of jail and living in the Sunshine Coast community of Bli Bli with his aunt and uncle who were pastors at the Suncoast Christian Church (formerly the Christian Outreach Centre).

It was to be a new start for the convicted paedophile and small-time drug dealer, a 190cm-tall man with a goatee, two silver earrings, a tattoo of a clown on his shoulder and two upper-arm tattoos –  one of a skull holding a smoking gun with skeletal fingers, the other of a skull in a top hat.

At one point Cowan was going to church three times a weekend. He met a girl through church and, in September 1999, after a church wedding ceremony, they celebrated at a reception at the Big Pineapple, a remnant of gaudy 1970s tourism on the Nambour Connection Road.

The couple started their life together in Beerwah, an old sugarcane town spliced by Steve Irwin Way and with a view of the jagged Glasshouse Mountains. Cowan smoked pot and did a bit of this, a bit of that — odd jobs, tow-truck driving, industrial spray-painting — until someone hooked him up with local businessman Trevor Davis. “I thought quite a lot of Brett,” says Mr Davis, who owns a sandblasting business.

By all accounts, Cowan had a disciplined upbringing. “He was an army brat,” says Mr Davis of his former employee, who was born in Bunbury, Western Australia, in September 1969. He and his three brothers spent much of their childhood in Brisbane’s Everton Park. Cowan’s father, Peter, retired from the Army having achieved the rank of major.

Mr Davis says Brett Cowan was intelligent and hard-working, “an open and friendly chap” who got on with customers and “never forgot anything I taught him”.

Mr Davis was so impressed by his employee that he bought a second sandblasting business with the intention that Cowan could run it independently. “I figured that I could front him into it,” says Mr Davis.

Tracey Lee Moncrieff gave birth to the couple’s first child, a little boy, in mid 2003, about six months before Bruce and Denise Morcombe’s little boy vanished from a bus stop under an overpass at Woombye on the Nambour Connection Road.

Police quickly identified Cowan as a person of interest in their investigation. Cowan was interviewed and, just before Christmas, his white Pajero was carted off to Nambour police station where it was scoured it for evidence. Nothing was found.

Cowan denied having anything to do with the case. He would later officially change his name in a vain attempt to avoid further scrutiny. His new name was “Shaddo N-unyah Hunter” — “Shaddo” because it was his dog’s name and his dog followed him around like a shadow. When undercover police asked what “N-unyah” was all about, he replied “Nunyah business”.

In 2004, Moncrieff gave birth to his second son but the marriage was soon over. At some point Cowan’s spiritual observance had come to an end too.  “Something was preached over the pulpit that I didn’t agree with and (I) went and spoke with the pastor about it and he wouldn’t change his mind so…” he would later tell police.

“He just didn’t appear at a job site one day and that was the last I saw of him,” says Trevor Davis. “He just did a bunk.”

The Darwin judge who sentenced Cowan after his sex attack on the six-year-old boy described Cowan as a “pathological liar and a person who is prepared to steal even from his own parents”. He had lived a “parasitic existence, relying on social security and his parents”, the judge said, listing offences including stealing, break and enter and unlawful use of motor vehicles.

After he left Moncrieff, Cowan seems to have resumed that behaviour, drifting through a drug-hazed underclass, from what he described as “Nam-boring”, to Moranbah in north Queensland and then, by the time of the Nerang interview in 2005, to Uki in the Tweed Valley.

In 2008 he was living with 18-year-old Leticha Anne Harvey in Durack, Ipswich. By December 2009 she’d given birth to their son and they were living in a caravan park on Bribie Island in Moreton Bay off Brisbane. Cowan would later tell undercover police that he’d lost access to his two oldest children and that his brother and his wife had custody of his youngest son.

By March 2011 when Cowan was called to give evidence at the inquest into Daniel Morcombe’s disappearance, he was living in yet another caravan park — this time in Perth with another woman, also called “Tracey”, a woman he described as “a friend with benefits”, and his pet “birdie”, a “twenty-eight” or Australian ring-neck parrot.

At the inquest in the Brisbane Coroners Court, Cowan was Dubbed “P7”, “Person of Interest 7”. He had been bullied at school, Cowan told the court, and came to struggle with his bisexuality.

He admitted to smoking “cones” of marijuana in his hotel room each morning he was required to give evidence.

He admitted something else as he tried to convince the inquest he wasn’t involved in Daniel’s disappearance. “I wasn’t interested in teenage boys. I was interested in six, seven and eight-year-old boys.”

On April 1, excused from the inquest, Cowan caught a flight back to Perth. On the plane, he sat next to a bloke who introduced himself as Joe Emery. They got chatting and swapped numbers. “Joe Emery” was the false name of an undercover police officer. One of the most extraordinary undercover police investigations in Australia’s history had begun.

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Liam Humbles who shot dead Lewis McPherson jailed for at least 24 years


This is the gutless little punk who has finally been sentenced for the cold-blooded murder of Lewis McPherson. AS in most South Australian crimes, the system protects the perp not the victim. Watch his arrest video, but DO NOT feel any sympathy for this drug and booze infested gutter rat. He has shown NO remorse or in fact anything towards his victim since it happened. he bragged he was going to kill the other 2 mates Lewis was with, James and Liam walking along a street to a party the night of the murder. I commend those buddies for fronting up to the trial and eyeing this little mongrel in the eye.

Video of his arrest

THE drunk, drugged and gun-wielding teen who took the life of Lewis McPherson on New Year’s Eve 2012 will spend at least 24 years behind bars and can today be named for the first time.

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.

A Supreme Court gallery packed with Mr McPherson’s friends and family today gasped with relief and embraced as Liam Patrick Humbles was sentenced for his crime.

Humbles’ mother, meanwhile, erupted into howls of grief and had to be comforted by her husband as her son was led into the cell to begin his penalty.

In sentencing, Justice Michael David said there was nothing that could validly explain Humbles’ decision to carry a loaded .22 calibre handgun on his person the night he killed Mr McPherson and shot at his two friends.

“It was put to me … that your reason for possessing a firearm was that you had it for protection against bullying — such a reason does not bear close scrutiny,” Justice David said.

“The concept that a young person might think they have to carry a weapon with them for self-protection is appalling, frightening, and has no place in our society.”

He said a psychological report showed Humbles had demonstrated little remorse and only slight insight into the impact of his offending on his family, Mr McPherson’s family and the community.

He jailed Humbles for life with a non-parole period of 24 years and two months, including the 14 months he has already spent in custody.

Justice David said Humbles had shown no contrition for the senseless murder and was still struggling to fully accept responsibility or recognise the catastrophic consequences of the shooting.

Humbles was grossly affected by alcohol and drugs and told his lawyers he had no memory of the shooting.

Justice David said that after shooting at Mr McPherson and his friends, Humbles also fired a shot at a passing car.

“This was an appalling, wanton crime. Disastrous as it was, it could have been even worse and three, perhaps four people could have been killed that evening,” he said.

“I found in my reasons for judgement that you intended to kill them all.”

Justice David ordered that Humbles, now aged 19, be transferred at his own request to an adult prison as soon as possible to complete his hefty sentence.

He further ordered the long-standing, statutory suppression order on Humbles’ identity be lifted, allowing MEDIA to name the killer and show the police video of his arrest.

Humbles will be eligible for parole in March, 2037, when he will be 42 years old.

He was found guilty of murdering Mr McPherson and attempting to murder his best friends, James Lamont and Liam Trewartha .

He shot at the trio with a .22 calibre pistol on New Year’s Eve, 2012, in the suburb of Warradale as they were walking to a party.

Humbles — a drug-using, binge-drinking, cannabis-selling couch-surfer — had himself attended a different party that night, and was upset about an argument that had occurred there .

In harrowing testimony during the trial, Mr Lamont and Mr Trewatha recalled trying to keep their “best friend until the end” alive after the shooting .

They had to flee when the teen returned and stood over Mr McPherson, saying “if you don’t stop being dead, I’ll make you really dead”.

Mr Lamont later gave a passionate victim impact statement, telling the killer Mr McPherson had “never judged” him and believed he would “some day be good to this earth” .

Last week, The Advertiser exclusively revealed the man who allegedly provided Humbles with the murder weapon is facing firearms and drugs charges .

Outside court, Mr McPherson’s father Mark repeated his calls for mandatory jail terms for firearms offences.

“There is no place for guns in our society, and those who have them aren’t going to do any good with them,” he said.

“There should be mandatory sentencing — if you have a gun, you’re going to jail.”

He said he felt justice “had been done” even though no sentence “is ever enough” to compensate for the loss of a son.

“It’s certainly more than we expected,” he said.

“I feel for her (the killer’s mother) but not for him … I will never forgive him.

“His lack of contrition is disturbing and hurtful … I just don’t know what goes on in his head.”

Mark McPherson said he was concerned that Humbles would emerge from the adult prison system as a more dangerous person.

“But what else do you do with him?” he asked.

“I hope that he does get the sort of programs and education he needs to come out as a productive member of society.”

He acknowledged Mr McPherson would likely wish the killer the best for his rehabilitation, but said he could not share that feeling.

“Lewis only hoped for good for everybody, that’s just the sort of person he was,” he said.

“He would probably be the first to say ‘I hope it works out for him (the killer)’.”

Mr McPherson’s mother, Kim, declined to comment outside court.

Murderer Liam Humbles in a photo from his Facebook page.

Murderer Liam Humbles in a photo from his Facebook page.

SA murder victim Lewis McPherson, centre, with best friends James Lamong (left) and Liam Trewartha (right).

SA murder victim Lewis McPherson, centre, with best friends James Lamong (left) and Liam Trewartha (right).

The .22 calibre handgun used to murder Lewis McPherson

The .22 calibre handgun used to murder Lewis McPherson

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.

SA child care worker Mark Christopher Harvey stands trial accused of child sex abuse


SA child care worker Mark Christopher Harvey stands trial accused of child sex abuse

Chief Court Reporter Sean Fewster

February 24, 2014 1:27PM

THE child care worker who sparked the Education Department sex abuse scandal is a paedophile who abused his position to hide his deviancy in plain sight, a court has heard.

Artist’s sketch of Mark Christopher Harvey during his November 2012 appearance in the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court

Artist’s sketch of Mark Christopher Harvey during his November 2012 appearance in the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court

Mark Christopher Harvey is currently serving a six-year jail term for child sex offences committed at a western suburbs school in December 2010.

Today, he stood trial in the District Court charged with the persistent sexual exploitation of four girls prior to that crime.

In his opening address, prosecutor Mark Norman, SC, said Harvey had touched the girls, aged between five and eight, bit their toes and even blindfolded them.

Mr Norman said Harvey was the director of an out of school hours care program, and so knew full well how inappropriate and unlawful his conduct was.

“Our case is that the accused is a paedophile with a foot fetish,” he said.

“The children adored him, they treated (his actions) as just another game, as something that Mr Harvey would do.”

“He was hiding in plain sight — he was getting sexual pleasure from touching the children and, in particular, biting their toes, and using his position to disguise it as innocent play.”

Harvey, 43, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of persistent sexual exploitation of a child allegedly committed between January 2007 and December 2011.

Those offences pre- and postdate his existing conviction over a sexual act involving a blindfolded child in December 2010.

Parents who used the OSCH service were not told of that offending until November 2012, sparking the Education Department sex abuse scandal.

Unrelated allegations against dozens of other teachers and child care workers came to light, and then-education minister Grace Portolesi was succeeded by Jennifer Rankine.

A subsequent inquiry, by retired Supreme Court Justice Bruce Debelle, produced a 280 page report with 43 recommendations about how alleged sex abuse should be handled by the Education Department .

This month, the Sunday Mail revealed there remain more than 80 “ongoing investigation matters” involving alleged misconduct by Education Department and Families SA staff.

Today, Mr Norman said that, under Harvey’s leadership, the OSCH program was “less structured” than others and rewarded children with lollies and physical contact.

He would sit with them in the TV room and single out “favoured” children to accompany him to a separate area to prepare fruit snacks for the group.

“It’s plain Harvey was conditioning the children to be accepting of his touch,” he said.

“(When preparing snacks) he knew it would be very unlikely he would be seen or disturbed.”

Mr Norman said Harvey would “play a taste-testing game” with select children, while they were blind-folded, usually by a tea towel.

He said that, during a conversation with another staff member, Harvey announced he would be playing a taste-testing game with the entire group.

“He was masking his intentions toward the children by admitting this taste-testing game existed,” he said.

“That would enable him, should he ever be taken to task about being alone with the children, to say he’d told people about it and it therefore must be innocent.”

Mr Norman said other staff became concerned when, during a vacation care excursion, Harvey let a distressed child sit in his lap in full view of the general public.

“Harvey did not deny it and said he was comforting the child and would continue to do so,” he said.

He said Harvey was formally cautioned over the incident, and so committed the offences knowing his behaviour was inappropriate.

Mr Norman said that, after December 2010 crime, the alleged victims of the current matter approached their parents and complained about Harvey.

Police, meanwhile, discovered “a dozen foot fetish DVDs” in Harvey’s home.

During a subsequent interview, Harvey told police that letting children help him prepare snacks was “part of the children’s ownership” of the OSHC program.

He also conceded being “a big one for” physical interaction and that he was “trying to do the right thing, but it bit me on the ass in the long run”.

“This is an example of confession and avoidance,” Mr Norman said.

“He seeks to blame the children for this, or to at the very least categorise it as benign play.”

The trial, before Judge Michael Boylan in the absence of a jury, continues.

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Toowoomba teacher tells royal commission she couldn’t understand why molested children didn’t come forward


Here we go again, disgusting out of touch responses from officials where children were abused. Finger pointing, buck passing, protocol this, protocol that… WAKE THE HELL UP AUSTRALIA

This has to end, and we cannot continue to let this bullshit roll along until the perpetrators die or disappear (to abuse again)

I have much more to add in the morning but had to get this published tonight. It is disgusting beyond anything I have ever seen here.

GUTLESS SELF INTERESTED PROFESSIONALS ENTRUSTED TO TAKE CARE OF OUR CHILDREN AND KEEP THEM SAFE.

EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU MAKE ME SICK TO THE STOMACH. BLOODY EXCUSE AFTER EXCUSE, YOUR PATHETIC EXCUSES, CAREERS, SELF INTERESTS OR SECRETS WERE MORE IMPORTANT. YOU WILL BE EXPOSED HERE, THE TIME HAS COME.

update tonight 18/02/14 more poor excuses at the highest levels, a principal no less, had no guts to do something

Principal didn’t report paedophile teacher

February 18, 2014 7:38PM

A CATHOLIC principal didn’t trust or like a paedophile teacher, but never reported child sex abuse complaints against him to police because he did not want to compromise the bishop.

Terence Hayes, who currently works as a year seven teacher, was principal of a Queensland primary in 2007 and 2008 when serious child sex abuse complaints were made against teacher Gerard Byrnes.

But Mr Hayes says he never reported any allegations to police, as the school’s child protection manual and state laws required, because he was always told to go to his superiors first.

“In the Catholic system, principals are not autonomous. We are virtually middle managers. So as, per the advice that had been given to me, we were constantly told we can never do anything without going to the office and getting advice of our superiors,” he told a hearing of the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Brisbane on Tuesday.

“Principals were of the understanding that CEO (Catholic Education Office) was the first port of call, and that the bishop must not be compromised.”

Counsel Assisting Andrew Naylor SC asked the former principal why the school’s child protection manual existed if it wasn’t being followed.

“That’s a question for my superiors, but we were told by our superiors to ‘come to us, we would help you, we are the first port of call, we work together’,” Mr Hayes replied.

Mr Hayes said after the first sex abuse complaints against Byrnes were made, he didn’t tell Byrnes that any action would be taken because he wanted to keep an eye on Byrnes secretly.

“I didn’t trust him. I didn’t like him. He was a very difficult person on staff. I didn’t enjoy the guy on staff,” Mr Hayes said.

But Byrnes wasn’t stood down as a student protection officer at the school up until he resigned in June 2008.

He was then rehired as a relief teacher one month later.

Mr Naylor asked if Mr Hayes had made his opinion about Byrnes known to superiors before he was rehired.

“I’m a very system-orientated person and it’s not for me to make a judgement on that information,” Mr Hayes said.

Mr Naylor then asked if he had felt comfortable about the CEO making a decision to let Byrnes come back to his school and teach children.

“If the system had said yes, I’m comfortable,” Mr Hayes replied.

Byrnes’ employment at the school only ceased when he was finally arrested by police in November 2008.

He pleaded guilty to 44 child sex abuse charges, including 10 of rape, and was sentenced to 10 years jail in 2010.

The hearing is set to continue on Wednesday.

Toowoomba teacher tells royal commission she couldn’t understand why molested children didn’t come forward

A former student protection officer at a Queensland primary school says she could not understand why students who had been sexually abused “didn’t have the courage to come forward”.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes molested 13 female students, all aged between nine and 10, in 2007 and 2008.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes molested 13 female students, all aged between nine and 10, in 2007 and 2008.

Catherine Long was a student protection officer at the Toowoomba primary school where teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes molested 13 female students, all aged between nine and 10, in 2007 and 2008.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is looking at why Byrnes was allowed to go on offending for more than a year after allegations were first made against him to the school.

Byrnes, the school’s child protection contact, pleaded guilty in 2010 to child sex offences, including rape. He carried out all but two of his crimes in the classroom.

Ms Long, who still teaches at the school,was today questioned by the commission in Brisbane as to why she did not refer one student’s complaint to police or authorities.

She said some of the relevant school protocols were difficult to understand and she was reluctant to believe her colleague was a paedophile.

“And I don’t get that our children, with all of this student protection and everything else that we have, didn’t have the courage to come forward,” she said.

Ms Long also told the hearing she believed referring the matter to police was the principal’s responsibility.

“I was there as the note-taker – he was in charge, not me,” she said.

Principal told but no action taken

One of the parents reported that his daughter’s accusations of abuse to the principal at the time, Terrence Hayes, as well as another teacher, but neither related the accusations to the police.

“The teacher wasn’t suspended, he remained in the class for the last term, and then a whole new school year in 2008 where, sadly, he went on to abuse more of the young girls,” said Monique Scattini, who legally represented the families of five of the abused girls.

Mr Hayes was charged with failing to tell police about the abuse complaints, but was later acquitted. He is expected to give evidence later this week.

No action was taken against Byrnes, a veteran teacher and father of eight children, until a parent of an abused girl went directly to the police.

“There actually were systems and procedures in place and they had been accredited, but still there was something that prevented the strong application of those,” said Janette Dines, the chief executive of the commission.

“And in this case, the abuse not just continued but escalated after the first complaints were made.”

The parents of three of the victims fronted the commission today, with one mother saying the school’s refusal to act on allegations was “disgusting”.

Another mother of an abuse victim said she and other parents were ostracised by the school community after they complained about the abuse, and how the school had dealt with their concerns.

“The parents of the victims were made out to be the bad guys,” she said.

Francis Sullivan, the chief executive of the Church’s Truth Justice Healing Council, admits the case was mishandled.

“There’s no doubt that there would still be considerable anger at the Church over its handling [of this case],” he said.

“We’ve discussed the loss of trust about what’s occurring … [in a] close-knit community something like this really goes to the heart of relationships.”

The hearing is expected to last for five days.

Royal commission to probe handling of reports of abuse by Gerard Vincent Byrnes at Toowoomba School

By Emily Bourke

The child abuse royal commission will today turn its attention to how staff and Catholic Church officials at a Toowoomba primary school in south-east Queensland dealt with allegations of sexual offences against girls between 2007 and 2008.

In 2010, veteran teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes pleaded guilty to child sex offences committed against 13 girls and was sentenced to 10 years’ jail.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is taking a closer look at how the school dealt with the complaints.

Monique Scattini represented the families of five victims who took legal action and says the abuse could have been prevented.

“One of the parents went to the principal, reported allegations that his daughter had made to him,” Ms Scattini said.

“There was subsequently a meeting with the principal and another teacher … who conducted an interview with the young girl and her father.

“At the end of that meeting neither the principal nor the teacher reported the matter to police.

“The teacher wasn’t suspended, he remained in the class for the last term, and then a whole new school year in 2008 where, sadly, he went on to abuse more of the young girls.

“And it was absolutely preventable if anyone in Catholic Education had have done their job.

“I know it could have been prevented because when the teacher was arrested, he admitted to the offences.”

Mandatory reporting laws were put to the test, but the principal was found not guilty of failing to refer the allegation to police.

Ms Scattini says the response from the broader school community was also upsetting for the victims’ families.

Audio: Listen to Emily Bourke’s report for AM (AM)

“Sadly the school didn’t rally at all around the parents or the young girls who were the victims,” she said.

“Instead all the support was thrown behind the principal.

“A number of staff and parents in the school community were wearing badges and ribbons in support for him as they would attend school grounds or in-court hearings for both the criminal prosecution of the paedophile and the principal.

“So they [the victims] felt incredibly ostracised.”

‘Procedures not followed to the letter’

Royal commission chief executive Janette Dines says this particular case is striking, given that procedures were in place to deal with reports of abuse.

“Given that we have just finished looking at what some people would call historical abuse with the Salvation Army, this is quite confronting for a lot of people who might have thought that abuse was in the past,” Ms Dines said.

“What is also quite striking about this case is the fact is that the abuse against these girls, who were all aged eight to 10 at the time, occurred predominantly in the classroom in front of other children.

“And I think the other striking thing is the fact that this isn’t a case where there weren’t systems and procedures in place.

“There actually were systems and procedures in place and they had been accredited, but still there was something that prevented the strong application of those.

“There actually were systems and procedures in place and they had been accredited, but still there was something that prevented the strong application of those.”

Ms Dines says it is likely other students at the school were aware of the abuse.

“There is a sense that the children as a group were aware of what was going on,” she said.

“And whilst one of the girls had the courage to come forward, the sense of fear and powerlessness when it was obvious that she wasn’t believed and nothing happened is a big feature of the impact that that’s had on this group of children.”

Francis Sullivan, from the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council, says the school community are still coming to terms with the events.

“What happened in this particular case is so alien to what a church is about, people carry that with them for a very long time,” Mr Sullivan said.

“When I visited Toowoomba recently and even went to the school and spoke to people in the staff room, it is quite clear that the experiences of 2007 and 2008 are still fresh.

“In the local community it’s extremely potent and fresh and so it should be.

“This was such a travesty, and such a tragedy and the trust that a community should put in a Catholic Church school and certainly in the Catholic Church was really eroded and the scars of that remain.”

Advocacy group initiates investigation of Family Court

Meanwhile, long-time advocate for child abuse victims, Hetty Johnston, is optimistic about the public hearing.

“They are getting to the crux of matters – they are taking no prisoners and the ramifications for this are not just going to affect Australia’s children and organisations, the threads of this lead right around the globe,” Ms Johnston said.

The royal commission’s terms of reference are limited to looking at institutions and how they have responded to child sexual abuse.

Ms Johnston says the inquiry should be expanded as it does not look into abuse that occurs in the family.

The founder of Bravehearts has told the ABC that the children’s advocacy group has received funding from a private benefactor to conduct its own investigation of the Family Court.

It’s now the legal process that causes so much damage to children and families who are already in a lot of trouble.

“It’s as though the shutters have come down, and they’ve said, ‘well, you can look in the churches, and you can go anywhere else but don’t you come looking in here’.

Bravehearts are determined to go looking there, and we are going to go looking there.

“We are going to do this investigation. We have some private funding to make that happen.”

Ms Johnston says the Family Court is an institution that cannot be ignored.

“We cannot let this opportunity go, where finally, as a nation, we are focusing on this most heinous of ways to offend against children, and not look at the modern-day issues that are facing our children,” she said.

“They are not the homes any more, or the institutions, the churches.

“It’s now the legal process that causes so much damage to children and families who are already in a lot of trouble.

“We need to get that right, and unless they do that, we’re going to be having this again in 15 years’ time.”

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/principal-barred-for-pedophile-inaction/story-e6frg6nf-1226790822074#

Principal barred for paedophile inaction

A QUEENSLAND Catholic primary school headmaster who failed to stop a pedophile teacher from repeatedly abusing his female students has been barred from serving as a principal.

Terence Michael Hayes admitted to a tribunal that he failed to protect students after receiving a complaint in 2007 that one of his teachers, Gerard Vincent Byrnes, had molested a member of his Year 4 class at the school in Toowoomba.

When Byrnes retired in mid-2008, Mr Hayes obtained approval from the Catholic Education Office to rehire the pedophile, then 58, as a casual teacher.

Byrnes was jailed in 2010 for committing 44 sexual offences against 13 girls – all aged nine and 10 – between January 2007 and November 2008.

Mr Hayes was the first person in Australia to be charged under laws requiring reporting to police of suspicions of child-sex abuse, but he was acquitted in 2009.

The Queensland College of Teachers has now taken action in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, obtaining orders that Mr Hayes undertake 50 hours of community service and that he never again act as a principal, acting principal or as a child protection contact.

He was also handed a two-year suspension from teaching, wholly suspended on account of his sporadic work history since his dismissal in December 2009.

He resumed teaching fulltime last year.

The September 2007 complaint received by Mr Hayes indicated that Byrnes had kissed a girl on the cheek, put his hand through a girl’s shirt and placed his hand on the upper leg of a girl.

Byrnes admitted to Mr Hayes that he had placed girls on his lap in class, spoken to girls in the playground, given lollies to students and allowed students to visit his class.

Mr Hayes reported the allegation to the Catholic Education Office, but Byrnes was not monitored or removed from his role as a student protection contact.

In written reasons published this month, QCAT said: “The young students who were the victims of Mr Byrnes’ conduct have suffered … serious and long-lasting consequences.

“Principals must be deterred from similar failings.”

Byrnes was jailed for 10 years in 2010, and will be eligible for parole in 2016.

http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2011/03/12/judges-dismiss-appeal-against-pedophile-toowoomba/

No appeal for pedophile teacher

Peter Hardwick | 12th March 2011

  • ·

ARGUABLY Toowoomba’s most despised individual, pedophile school teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes, has escaped serving any more time in jail.

The Court of Appeal in Brisbane yesterday rejected an Attorney General’s appeal against the leniency of the sentence handed down in Toowoomba District Court to the 61-year-old who admitted 44 sexual offences against girl students aged just nine and 10.

Byrnes’ offences included the rape of six girls in his care and the ongoing grooming of one child.

Many of the offences had occurred in the classroom environment at a Toowoomba Catholic primary school and at times in front of other students.

Adding to the abhorrence of his crimes, Byrnes had at the time been the school’s designated Child Protection Officer.

He was sentenced to 10 years jail, a sentence then Attorney General Cameron Dick appealed claiming the penalty was inadequate for such serious offending in Brynes’ position as the victims’ class teacher.

Tony Moynihan SC, for the Attorney General’s appeal, argued the sentence was inadequate for a “gross breach of trust and abuse of power”.

The appeal sought to increase the jail term up to 15 years.

However, in a unanimous judgement brought down yesterday and published on the Courts Queensland website, Chief Justice Paul de Jersey, Justice John Muir and Justice Margaret White dismissed the appeal, finding the sentence handed down by Judge Sarah Bradley was “supported by the comparable sentences” handed down in the past for like cases.

The Court of Appeal said due leniency had to be applied when sentencing offenders who admitted their guilt.

The ruling quoted passages from a previous judgement, which stated:

“An offender who pleads guilty saves the community the cost of a trial.

“In some kinds of case, particularly offences involving young persons, the offender’s pleas of guilty avoids the serious harm that may be done by requiring the victim to describe yet again, and thus relive, their part in the conduct that is to be punished.”

Byrnes was declared at sentence a serious violent offender, meaning he has to serve at least 80% of his 10-year term.

However, having served almost two years pre-sentence custody by the time he was sentenced, he will be eligible for release from prison in 2016.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/year-sentence-sticks-for-teacher-who-molested-schoolgirls/story-e6freon6-1226019627777

10-year sentence sticks for teacher who molested schoolgirls

A TOOWOOMBA teacher who molested 13 schoolgirls escaped a higher sentence when the Court of Appeal today refused an application by the Attorney General to increase his 10 years jail time.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Tony Moynihan, SC, who appeared for the then Attorney General Cameron Dick, had asked Gerard Vincent Byrnes sentence be set aside and one of up to 15 years imposed.

Mr Moynihan said the 10-year sentence failed to reflect the gravity of the offence, it failed to act as a sufficient deterrent, and the sentencing judge gave too much weight to mitigating factors.

He said it was an abuse of power and the 10-year jail sentence did not adequately denounce the behaviour or mark deterrence.

However, Michael Byrne, QC, for Byrnes, said the 10-year sentence was adequate because there were substantial mitigating factors in his clients favour including his early plea and genuine remorse in writing an apology to his victims.

Mr Byrne said his client had led a blemish free life and been a productive member of the community.

In an unanimous judgment the Court of Appeal dismissed the Attorney General’s appeal.

Justice John Muir said the mitigating circumstances, in particular Byrnes’ early guilty plea and his admissions to police, when combined with comparable cases relied on by the Attorney General, an increase in sentence was not warranted.

He said comparable sentences used by Mr Byrne had supported a 10-year sentence.

The Chief Justice Paul de Jersey and Justice Margaret White agreed the appeal should be dismissed.

In the District Court in Toowoomba last year, Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty to 44 child-sex offences including maintaining a sexual relationship with a child, rape, and indecent dealing between 2007 and 2008.

Byrnes was classed as an automatic serious violent offender and he must serve eight years before he is eligible for parole.

He has already served nearly two years in pre-sentence custody and will be eligible for parole in 2016.

Byrnes, who had worked in Catholic schools in NSW and Queensland since 1970 as both teacher and principal, admitted abusing 13 girls aged between eight and ten, sometimes in front of his grade 4 class.

The court heard Byrnes had stopped abusing one girl as he mistakenly thought she had reported him but the girl who had actually reported him continued to be molested.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/qld/QCA/2011/40.html

Supreme Court of Queensland – Court of Appeal

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R v. Byrnes; ex parte A-G (Qld) [2011] QCA 40 (11 March 2011)

Last Updated: 14 March 2011

SUPREME COURT OF QUEENSLAND

CITATION: R v Byrnes; ex parte A-G (Qld) [2011] QCA 40
PARTIES: Rv

BYRNES, Gerard Vincent

(respondent)

EX PARTE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF QUEENSLAND

(appellant)

FILE NO/S: CA No 246 of 2010DC No 894 of 2009
DIVISION: Court of Appeal
PROCEEDING: Sentence Appeal by A-G (Qld)
ORIGINATING COURT: District Court at Toowoomba
DELIVERED ON: 11 March 2011
DELIVERED AT: Brisbane
HEARING DATE: 17 February 2011
JUDGES: Chief Justice and Muir and White JJASeparate reasons for judgment of each member of the Court, each concurring as to the order made
ORDER: Appeal dismissed
CATCHWORDS: CRIMINAL LAW – APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL AGAINST SENTENCE – GROUNDS FOR INTERFERENCE – SENTENCE MANIFESTLY EXCESSIVE OR INADEQUATE – where respondent pleaded guilty to serious violent offences of a sexual nature against complainants under 12 years of age – where respondent sentenced to 10 years imprisonment – where appellant submitted that sentence failed to give weight to the seriousness of offending, number of complainants and position of authority of the respondent – whether sentence manifestly inadequateCriminal Code 1899 (Qld), s 669A

Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld), s 161A, s 161B

AB v The Queen (1999) 198 CLR 111; [1999] HCA 46, cited

R v D [2003] QCA 88, distinguished

R v D’Arcy (2001) 122 A Crim R 268; [2001] QCA 325, considered

R v Ellis (1986) 6 NSWLR 603, cited

R v HAV [2009] QCA 259, followed

R v MBG & MBH [2009] QCA 252, distinguished

R v TS [2009] 2 Qd R 276; [2008] QCA 370, followed

R v ZA; ex parte A-G (Qld) [2009] QCA 249, distinguished

COUNSEL: A W Moynihan SC, with A D Anderson, for the appellantM J Byrne QC for the respondent
SOLICITORS: Director of Public Prosecutions (Queensland) for the appellantPeter Shields Lawyers for the respondent

[1] CHIEF JUSTICE: I have had the advantage of reading the reasons for judgment of Muir JA. I agree that the appeal should be dismissed, for those reasons.

[2] MUIR JA: Introduction The respondent pleaded guilty to one count of maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship, 10 counts of rape and 33 counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16 with the circumstance of aggravation that the complainant was under 12 years of age. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for each of the maintaining and rape offences and to seven years imprisonment for each of the indecent treatment offences. Each term of imprisonment was ordered to be served concurrently. By operation of ss 161A and 161B of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld), the respondent was convicted of serious violent offences with the consequence that he was required to serve 80 per cent of the head sentence of 10 years before becoming eligible for parole.

[3] The appellant Attorney-General appealed on the grounds that the sentences imposed were inadequate.

The circumstances of the offending

[4] The subject offences were committed over a 23 month period by the 58/59 year old respondent on 13 female students in his grade 4 class at a Toowoomba school. As well as being his victims’ teacher, the respondent was one of the school’s two child protection officers. As such, he was held out as a person whose assistance students could seek with safety in the event of inappropriate conduct. All of the offences were committed at the school and all but two were committed during the conduct of a class.

[5] The respondent’s modus operandi was to call the intended victim to the front of the class room and, when marking her work or asking questions of her, cause her to sit on his lap or stand in front of him. He would then engage in the offending activity. Three of the indecent dealing counts involved the rubbing of girls’ chests under their blouses. Another three involved the placement of the respondent’s hand up the girls’ skirts and rubbing their legs below their underwear. Two such counts involved licking the vaginal regions of two girls. One girl was kissed on the lips. Three of the offences involved the feeling of girls’ buttocks under their underwear. Another three involved rubbing of girls’ genitalia outside their underwear and 15 of the counts involved the rubbing of buttocks outside of the girls’ underwear. The licking incidents occurred when the girls, having been asked to remain behind during morning tea, were alone in the classroom with the respondent.

[6] The digital penetrations are the subject of counts 7, 8, 9 and 12 on the indictment. Counts 10 and 11 relate to the indecent treatment of this complainant and count six is the maintaining count. It was constituted by the conduct the subject of the four rape counts, the indecent treatment counts and other uncharged acts. The six remaining counts of rape occurred when the respondent digitally penetrated the vaginas of five other children on separate occasions.

[7] One girl complained to the school principal on 6 September 2007 that the respondent had put his hand inside her shirt and up her skirt and that she had seen him kiss another girl on the cheek. The principal wrote to the respondent informing him of these allegations and inviting him to respond. The respondent did so on 20 September 2007 acknowledging that he kissed a child on the cheek and that girls in his class often sat on his knee. He denied the other allegations. The respondent erroneously assumed that a particular girl was the informant, and ceased offending against her. He continued to offend against the other girls including the girl who had actually complained. He also interfered with two girls who had not previously been subjected to his indecent acts.

[8] In November 2008, the complainant with whom the respondent had been maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship complained to her mother and the police were informed. The respondent participated in interviews with police in relation to the offences. He initially denied allegations made by some children but admitted offending conduct which had not been the subject of allegations by a complainant. Six of the 10 counts of rape were based solely on the respondent’s admissions.

The Sentencing Remarks

[9] In her sentencing remarks the sentencing judge referred to the position of trust held by the respondent, the distress experienced by some of the girls and to the continuation of the offending conduct after the initial complaint. The sentencing judge accepted that the remorse expressed by the respondent was genuine and noted that the respondent’s convictions on a number of the charges, including some of the more serious ones, were based on his admissions. It was accepted that the respondent’s imprisonment would be served in protective custody and that this would make incarceration more onerous than would otherwise be the case. Her honour took into account the age of the respondent and his previous good character.

[10] In determining the respondent’s sentence the primary judge derived assistance from R v D’Arcy [2001] QCA 325 in which the head sentence, imposed after a trial of offences against four complainants, which included three counts of penile rape, was reduced on appeal to 10 years imprisonment. The primary judge concluded that the starting point for determining the sentence should be 12 to 14 years imprisonment. She then took into account the plea of guilty, the respondent’s co-operation with the police and the respondent’s admissions and the other matters previously mentioned and arrived at sentences of 10 years for the maintaining and rape offences.

The Appellant’s Contentions

[11] Counsel for the appellant submitted that the head sentence of 10 years imprisonment failed to give sufficient weight to the serious nature of the offending, general deterrence, denunciation and protection of the community. It was submitted that the starting point adopted by the primary judge would have been appropriate for an offence of maintaining a sexual relationship with one child or a small group of children but not for offending on the subject scale by a teacher over a long period in respect of his own students.

[12] Reliance was placed on R v D,[1] R v MBG & MBH,[2] R v ZA; ex parte A-G (Qld)[3] and R v D’Arcy.[4]

[13] R v D was quite a different type of case to the present. The 40 year old offender who had a lengthy criminal history, not including convictions for sexual offences, succeeded in having a 12 year term of imprisonment for the rape of a five year old complainant set aside as being manifestly excessive. A sentence of 10 years imprisonment was substituted. The court did not interfere with a three year term of imprisonment imposed for deprivation of liberty. The complainant’s mother noticed that the complainant was missing and that the offender was no longer sitting in his back yard where she had previously seen him. She ran to the offender’s house, entered it and found the complainant naked on a bed with the applicant leaning over her, touching her vaginal area while holding down her legs. The complainant told her mother that she had not responded to her mother’s calls because of threats made by the offender that he would punish her.

[14] On medical inspection, the complainant’s hymen was found to be bruised and haemorrhaging was evident. The injuries were thought to be more consistent with digital than penile penetration. There was evidence that the complainant’s behaviour had changed since the offence and she slept with her mother most nights. Her sleep was interrupted and she was wary and distrustful of strangers.

[15] In R v MBG & MBH a sentence of 10 and a half years imprisonment imposed on a mother and father who pleaded guilty to maintaining a sexual relationship with their seven to eight year old daughter was not disturbed. The offenders also pleaded guilty to two counts of raping their daughter, one count of attempting to do so; 10 counts of indecently treating her; the rape of her nine year old friend; three counts of indecently treating that friend and indecent treatment of that friend’s sister.

[16] The offending conduct in respect of the complainant daughter occurred on about 100 occasions and included: an attempt by the male applicant to insert his penis into the complainant’s vagina; the performance of oral sex on the complainant by her parents and vice versa; the watching of pornographic films together; the applicants having sexual intercourse in front of the complainant; the complainants rubbing an object in her mother’s vaginal area; the placing of the male applicant’s semi erect penis inside the leg opening of the complainant’s underwear; and the application of a vibrator to the complainant’s genitalia.

[17] It was submitted that this decision demonstrated that the subject sentences were too low as there were only four female complainants. That case, however, involves not only more serious sexual acts but the protracted abuse and corruption of a young child by her natural parents. The moral culpability of the offenders in MBG & MBH, to my mind, was substantially greater than that of the respondent, appalling though his behaviour was in both its quality and extent. The sentencing judge justly observed that the respondent’s conduct involved a protracted and gross beach of trust.

[18] In R v ZA; ex parte A-G the nine and a half year sentence imposed on the 48 year old offender with a history of sexual offending against children was increased on appeal to 10 years, thereby attracting a serious violent offence declaration. The respondent committed 34 offences over a 15 month period against six boys aged between 10 and 15 years. The offences included: two counts of maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a child; two counts of sodomy with a circumstance of aggravation; 21 counts of indecent treatment of a child with a circumstance of aggravation; seven counts of indecent treatment of a child and two counts of attempting to procure a young person for carnal knowledge. As well as sodomy, the respondent’s conduct included the insertion of a vibrator into a complainant’s anus; fellatio on and by complainants and the showing of pornographic material including films involving bestiality. Again, the offending conduct was more extreme and corrupting than in the present case and it was perpetrated by an offender with a prior history of sexual offending.

[19] The remaining case relied on by the appellant was R v D’Arcy, in which the appellant offended against four young complainants, three girls and one a boy who were the appellant’s pupils when he was the principal of a one teacher school. The offences came to light many years after the event by which time the applicant was in his sixties and had significant health problems. His sentence was reduced from 14 years imprisonment to 10 years. The offending conduct was singularly grave. The appellant digitally penetrated one female complainant and rubbed his exposed penis up and down her body from her navel to her genitalia. Another female complainant was subjected to painful penile rape culminating in ejaculation on three occasions.

Consideration

[20] Counsel for the respondent submitted that in D’Arcy the offending conduct was markedly more serious than the subject offending conduct and that there was a lack of a primary basis for mitigation. It was found in D’Arcy that the applicant exercised control over the children through fear and violence. There was a trial, no co-operation at the trial and an absence of remorse. The complainants were obliged to give evidence thus reliving their experiences. D’Arcy therefore does not support the appellant’s argument, even when regard is had to the far greater number of victims in the present case. In that regard it is relevant that the more serious offences were committed against relatively few complainants in the present case, making the circumstances more comparable with those in D’Arcy than mere reference to numbers would suggest.

[21] Counsel for the respondent submitted that the primary judge’s sentence was also supported by R v TS[5] and R v HAV.[6]

[22] In R v HAV the offender was sentenced after a trial to concurrent terms of imprisonment of 14 years for maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 16 and rape. Concurrent terms of imprisonment of five years were imposed for six offences of indecent treatment of a child under 16. The primary judge found that the complainant was “to all intents and purposes” the offender’s step daughter and that the offender had sexually abused the complainant from when she was about seven until she was sixteen.

[23] The offending conduct was persistent and involved the offender’s masturbating in the presence of the complainant, masturbation of the offender by the complainant, cunnilingus, the dressing of the complainant in her mother’s underwear as an aid to the offender’s sexual gratification, penetration of the complainant’s anus with a finger and penile penetration of the complainant’s vagina. The abuse “had a significant impact” on the complainant and resulted in the breaking of the bond between mother and daughter.

[24] In R v TS the applicant, after guilty pleas, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for counts of maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship, sodomy and rape of child who was his lineal descendant. Other sentences were imposed for offences of attempted rape and indecent treatment. On appeal, 12 year terms were substituted for the 20 year terms. The offences were committed over a six year period commencing when the victim was three years of age. The offences were “committed against the complainant at every available opportunity during the maintaining period” and continued until the complainant grew older and was able to resist the applicant’s advances. The conduct included vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse causing great pain and distress and forced fellatio. The period of maintaining in count 1 began when the complainant was under 10 and continued for six years.

[25] Both R v TS and R v HAV tend to support the subject sentence, as do R v MBG & MBH, R v ZA; ex parte A-G and R v D’Arcy. The submissions made on behalf of the appellant insufficiently acknowledged the combined effect of the respondent’s guilty pleas and his early admissions, without which some of the rape convictions would not have been secured.

[26] Of particular relevance for present purposes is the following passage from the reasons of Street CJ in R v Ellis,[7] quoted with approval by Hayne J in AB v The Queen:[8]

“This Court has said on a number of occasions that a plea of guilty will entitle a convicted person to an element of leniency in the sentence. The degree of leniency may vary according to the degree of inevitability of conviction as it may appear to the sentencing judge, but it is always a factor to which a greater or lesser degree of weight must be given.

When the conviction follows upon a plea of guilty, that itself is the result of a voluntary disclosure of guilt by the person concerned, a further element of leniency enters into the sentencing decision. Where it was unlikely that guilt would be discovered and established were it not for the disclosure by the person coming forward for sentence, then a considerable element of leniency should properly be extended by the sentencing judge. It is part of the policy of the criminal law to encourage a guilty person to come forward and disclose both the fact of an offence having been committed and confession of guilt of that offence.

The leniency that follows a confession of guilt in the form of a plea of guilty is a well recognised part of the body of principles that cover sentencing. Although less well recognised, because less frequently encountered, the disclosure of an otherwise unknown guilt of an offence merits a significant added element of leniency, the degree of which will vary according to the degree of likelihood of that guilt being discovered by the law enforcement authorities, as well as guilt being established against the person concerned.”

[27] Prior to quoting the above passage Hayne J made the following observations which are also of immediate relevance:

“Leniency is extended to both offenders for various reasons. By confessing, an offender may exhibit remorse or contrition. An offender who pleads guilty saves the community the cost of a trial. In some kinds of case, particularly offences involving young persons, the offender’s pleas of guilty avoids the serious harm that may be done by requiring the victim to describe yet again, and thus relive, their part in the conduct that is to be punished.”

Conclusion

[28] When regard is had to the mitigating factors taken into account by the primary judge and, in particular, the early guilty pleas and admissions, the comparable sentences relied on by counsel for the appellant do not support the imposition of higher sentences. On the other hand, the subject sentences are supported by the comparable sentences referred to by the respondent’s counsel. The appellant has failed to demonstrate any proper basis for the exercise by this Court of its discretion under s 669A(1) of the Criminal Code and I would order that the appeal be dismissed.

[29] WHITE JA: I have read the reasons for judgment of Muir JA and agree with his Honour for those reasons that the Attorney-General’s appeal should be dismissed.


[1] [2003] QCA 88.

[2] [2009] QCA 252.

[3] [2009] QCA 249.

[4] [2001] QCA 325; (2001) 122 A Crim R 268.

[5] [2008] QCA 370; [2009] 2 Qd R 276.

[6] [2009] QCA 259.

[7] (1986) 6 NSWLR 603 at 604.

[8] [1999] HCA 46; (1999) 198 CLR 111 at 155, 156.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/former-catholic-teacher-gerard-vincent-byrnes-gets-10-years-for-abuse-of-young-schoolgirls/story-e6freoof-1226007569524

Former Catholic teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes gets 10 years for abuse of young schoolgirls

A 10-year jail sentence for a Catholic teacher and child protection officer did not reflect the enormity of the grand scale of his sexual misconduct with 13 young schoolgirls, a court heard today.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Tony Moynihan, SC, was making submissions to the Court of Appeal in an effort to have Gerard Vincent Byrnes sentence set aside and one of up to 15 years imposed.

Mr Moynihan was appearing for the Attroney General, Cameron Dick, who had appealed the 10-year sentence on the grounds it failed to reflect the gravity of the offence, it failed to act as a sufficient deterrent, and the sentencing judge gave too much weight to mitigating factors.

In the District Court in Toowoomba last year, Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty to 44 child-sex offences including maintaining a sexual relationship with a child, rape and indecent dealing between 2007 and 2008.

Byrnes was classed as an automatic serious violent offender and will have to serve eight years before he is eligible for parole.

He has already served nearly two years in pre-sentence custody and will be eligible for parole in 2016.

Byrnes, who had worked in Catholic schools in NSW and Queensland since 1970 as both teacher and principal, admitted abusing 13 girls aged between eight and 10, sometimes in front of his grade 4 class.

The court heard Byrnes had stopped abusing one girl as he mistakenly thought she had reported him but the girl who had actually reported him continued to be molested.

In the Court of Appeal today, Mr Moynihan said Byrnes’ offences, which had devastated both the victims and their families, should have brought a sentence at the higher end of the 10 to 15 year range.

“The sentence does not reflect the enormity of his offending of sexual misdconduct on a grand scale involving 13 girls,” Mr Moynihan said.

He said Byrnes maintained a sexual relationsip with one girl, raped five others and indecently dealt with seven others.

Mr Moynihan said the offences extended over two years during which Byrnes was the school’s child protection officer.

He said it was an abuse of power and the 10-year jail sentence did not adequately denounce the behaviour or mark deterrence.

However, Michael Byrne, QC, for Byrnes, said the 10-year sentence was adequate because there were substantial mitigating factors in his client’s favour including his early plea and genuine remorse in writing an apology to his victims.

Mr Byrne said his client had led a blemish-free life and been a productive member of the community.

The Court of Appeal reserved its judgment.  http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2011/02/17/court-hear-byrnes-appeal-toowoomba/

Court to hear rape sentence too lenient

17th February 2011

QUEENSLAND’S Court of Appeal will today hear legal argument that the sentence handed down to pedophile Toowoomba school teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes was too lenient.

Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty before Toowoomba District Court last year to 10 counts of rape, 33 counts of indecent treatment of a child, and one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child.

All 13 of his victims were girls aged nine or 10 and members of his Year 4 class at a Catholic primary school in Toowoomba.

The offences occurred in the class room environment in 2007 and 2008 at a time when Byrnes was the school’s designated Child Protection Officer.

He was sentenced on October 4 last year to 10 years jail of which he was ordered to serve eight years.

However, because he had already served 23 months in pre-sentence custody, Byrnes could be released from prison within six years of his sentence date.

Attorney General Cameron Dick, after taking legal advice, appealed the sentence on the grounds it was manifestly inadequate.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/queensland-attorney-general-to-appeal-child-rapist-gerard-vincent-byrnes-eight-year-term/story-e6freuyi-1225942286887

Queensland Attorney-General to appeal child rapist Gerard Vincent Byrnes’ eight-year term

  • From:AAP
  • October 22, 2010 2:11PM

THE Queensland government will appeal a 10-year sentence given to a staff member found guilty of the rape and sexual abuse of students in his care at a Toowoomba school.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty in April to 44 charges – 33 of indecent treatment of a child under 16, 10 counts of rape and one of maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child.

The incidents occurred while Byrnes was the child protection officer at a Toowoomba school from January 2007 to November 2008.

Byrnes was sentenced to serve eight years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

Having served nearly two years in pre-sentence custody, he could have been released in 2016.

Attorney-General Cameron Dick announced today he would appeal the sentence.

“Today I have lodged an appeal in the Court of Appeal in Brisbane against the sentence imposed on Gerard Vincent Byrnes for the offences of rape, maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship, and indecent treatment of a child under the age of 16,” Mr Dick said in a statement.

He said the grounds of the appeal are that the sentence fails to reflect the gravity of the offence, that it fails to act as a sufficient deterrent, and that the sentencing judge gave too much weight to factors of mitigation.

“I will not be making any further comment as the matter is now before the courts,” Mr Dick said.

The court will set the date for the appeal.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/10/04/3028981.htm

Teacher sentenced to jail for rape of students

By Sam Burgess

Updated 5 hours 28 minutes ago

A southern Queensland primary school teacher who raped and molested 13 of his students has been sentenced to at least eight years in jail.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty to 33 counts of indecent treatment of a child under 12, 10 counts of rape and one of maintaining a sexual relationship with a student.

The incidents occurred while he was the child protection officer at a Toowoomba school from January 2007 to November 2008.

In the Toowoomba District Court today, Judge Sarah Bradley sentenced him to 10 years in jail.

He must serve at least 80 per cent of that time.

Appeal demanded

Queensland Opposition Deputy Leader Lawrence Springborg has called on Attorney-General Cameron Dick to appeal against the sentence.

He says the sentence is manifestly inadequate and clearly out of step with community expectations.

Mr Springborg says Byrnes will serve less than a year for each victim and the Attorney-General must appeal.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/10/04/3029060.htm?section=justin

Teacher’s rape sentence ‘manifestly inadequate’

By Chris O’Brien and Sam Burgess

Updated 1 hour 18 minutes ago

The Queensland Opposition has called on the Attorney-General to appeal the sentence for a Toowoomba teacher who raped and molested 13 students.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes, 61, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for 44 sex offences.

Byrnes must serve at least eight years, but with time already served he could be eligible for parole in just over six.

Opposition Justice spokesman Lawrence Springborg says the sentence is manifestly inadequate and Byrnes will serve less than a year for each victim.

“This sentence is clearly out of step with community expectations and the Attorney-General must appeal,” he said.

“I think we had the prosecutor arguing that there should be a starting point of about 18 years and no less than 14 years.

“Certainly if you look at this sentence a lot of Queenslanders would justifiably be shaking their head.

“What we need is some real serious reform of sentencing laws.”

The court heard Byrnes, who was also the school’s child protection officer, committed the offences after asking the female victims to come to the front of the class to sit on his lap.

He also molested the girls during lunch breaks.

The court heard Byrnes was quizzed by the school’s principal about inappropriate contact with pupils but denied the allegations and continued to commit acts, including digital rape, against the girls.

Toowoomba Catholic Bishop William Morris says he hopes the sentence will start to provide some closure for the victims and their families.

“Until the sentencing has happened, even though he pleaded guilty, and then they had to wait, and it’s been deferred and so on, I think this is one step in the process of hopefully getting normality back into people’s lives,” he said.

“[It's] a step along the way of the healing of the victims and their families.”

http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2010/08/13/bishop-offers-to-meet-with-families/

Bishop to meet with families

Jim Campbell | 13th August 2010

THE families of two young victims of the horrific sexual abuse scandal at a Toowoomba Catholic primary school have supported the family of another victim who say they have been forced out of town.

The Chronicle ran a front page story in yesterday’s edition telling the family’s heart-breaking story.

The father of the young girl who was repeatedly raped by her teacher, Gerard Vincent Byrnes, explained the anguish his family had been put through and the lack of support they had been shown by the school.

A parent of another victim contacted The Chronicle yesterday to show support for the devastated family. “We understand your devastation and hope that you gain some strength from knowing there are people who are willing to stand side by side with you through the most challenging of times,” they wrote.

“The families involved have shown incredible courage and resilience in spite of ignorance and ‘blind faith’ being exhibited in a very public way by certain sections of the community.

“As a parent of one of the victims, we have also chosen to relocate to try and protect our family from unwanted exposure.”

Finally, they wrote: “The pain this one man has caused is unimaginable and will remain with us for the rest of our lives.”

Toowoomba Catholic Diocese leader Bishop William Morris also issued a statement in response to the family’s claims, saying the diocese had “maintained a constant flow of communication with the school community and has offered counselling and other pastoral support” over the past two years.

“Parents and the diocese place a great deal of trust in teachers to care for children under their supervision and the actions of Gerard Byrnes were a shocking betrayal of that trust,” Bishop Morris said.

“I can only begin to imagine the suffering which has been experienced by the victims and their families, including the one referred to in the Toowoomba Chronicle (yesterday).

“Although I of course would have preferred to have directly communicated with the victims and their families sooner, the diocese was unable to do so until April this year, due to not wanting to interfere in any way with the police investigation and subsequent criminal court proceedings.

“Gerard Byrnes’ guilty plea in the Toowoomba District Court in April meant the diocese was for the first time able to directly communicate with the victim’s parents, which I did so via a letter to each parent.

“I believed a letter to the victims offering a face-to-face meeting was a more respectful way of making contact, rather than an unannounced phone call.

“. . . I offered a face-to-face meeting and I indicated I would very much like this to occur so that I could apologise personally.”

Bishop Morris said that invitation remained open and he would particularly encourage the family who spoke out in The Chronicle to contact him.

He said he wrote to the families who had not yet pursued legal claims, inviting them to participate in the mediation process that will follow Bishop Morris’ admission of liability in July.

He also said the diocese had comprehensive procedures for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and that at the beginning of 2010, it appointed a full-time Diocesan Student Protection Officer, who is working with Toowoomba Catholic Education personnel to “heighten their vigilance for child protection surveillance”.

http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2010/08/12/family-forced-leave-dity/

Family forced to leave city

Jim Campbell | 12th August 2010

THE family of a young girl who was repeatedly raped by her teacher at a Toowoomba primary school say they have been ostracised and forced out of the city they once loved.

The girl’s distraught father told The Chronicle his family had been so devastated by the horrific crimes against his daughter they were leaving Toowoomba to try to piece their lives back together.

Legal action is about to be launched on behalf of the family against the Catholic Church which has admitted liability for the numerous acts of sexual assault against children at the school.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes, 61, has pleaded guilty to 33 counts of sexually molesting children, 10 counts of raping children and one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a girl under 12.

The offences were committed against 13 different girls in classes taught by the former Catholic primary school teacher between January, 2007, and September, 2008.

The father of the young girl who will now take his daughter to a new life remembers clearly the day he first learned of the horror she went through at just eight-years-old.

It was November, 2008, and it was his wife’s birthday.

The man received a phone call from a police officer and was asked to take his daughter to Toowoomba station for questioning.

“She was fully shocked by the police interview — after that she cried a lot,” the father remembered.

He said the ongoing trauma had put terrible strain on his family, his work and his relationship with his wife.

But despite what had happened, the man said he hadn’t received a single phone call from his daughter’s school, just one generalised letter offering counselling and a series of letters from the Catholic Church as legal proceedings progressed.

“To be honest, I expected a phone call from the school,” he said.

“I am angry and upset with the school and the Catholic Education (office) because they are responsible.

“That creature was the child protection officer and he did those things to all those kids.”

The family’s lawyer, Roger Singh, a partner at Shine Lawyers, said they deserved to be compensated for the horror they had been put through.

“The aim is to bring the church to account and that we will do,” he said.

Law firm Slater and Gordon is also pursuing legal action on behalf of five families of children who were assaulted.

The principal of the school at the time and two of his superiors were sacked in December last year as a result of the sex abuse scandal.

Byrnes is due to be sentenced on October 4.

http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2010/07/24/pedophile-Gerard-Vincent-byrnes-to-face-sentencing/

Pedophile Byrnes faces sentencing

Peter Hardwick | 24th July 2010

PEDOPHILE schoolteacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes will be sentenced in Toowoomba District Court on October 4.

Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty on April 14 to 10 counts of raping girls under 12, 33 counts of molesting girls under 12 and one of maintaining a sexual relationship with a girl under 12.

The offences were committed against 13 different girls, all students of his at a Toowoomba Catholic primary school, between January, 2007, and September, 2008.

However, Judge Debra Richards adjourned sentence when a medical report surfaced claiming Byrnes might have the onset of dementia which could affect the penalty imposed.

Judge Richards ordered that a neurologist’s report be compiled and put before the court.

The delay caused even more angst for the families of the victims, many of whom had attended court that day in the hope that Byrnes’ final sentencing might give them some closure and the healing process commenced.

During a mention of the matter before Toowoomba District Court yesterday, Byrnes’ solicitor Nathan Bouchier told Judge Richards that all reports had been received and the matter could now be set down for sentence.

However, Mr Bouchier said counsel briefed in the matter, Mr Brad Farr, was unavailable until the October sittings of the District Court in Toowoomba and asked that sentence be adjourned to those sittings.

Crown prosecutor Shontelle Kenny asked that the sentence date be set as early as possible out of respect for the victims’ families.

Accepting that Mr Farr should be present to represent Byrnes, Judge Richards adjourned sentence to Monday, October 4.

 Delays frustrate victims’ families:Sentencing of paedophile adjourned again

Peter Hardwick.  The Chronicle.  Toowoomba, Qld.:Jun 5, 2010.  p. 5

THERE was further frustration for the families of the child victims of Gerard Vincent Byrnes yesterday with the pedophile school teacher’s sentence adjourned again in Toowoomba District Court. Byrnes, 61, has pleaded guilty to 33 counts of sexually molesting girls under

12 years of age, 10 counts of raping girls under 12, and one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a girl under 12.

The offences were committed against 13 different girls in classes taught by the former Catholic primary school teacher between January, 2007, and September,2008.

Byrnes was the school’s designated child-protection officer at the time.

He was due to be sentenced in April, but that hearing was adjourned after his legal team produced a psychiatric report suggesting Byrnes might have the onset of dementia.

Judge Debra Richards adjourned sentence until June 18 so a neurologist could examine all the medical material and report back to the court.

However, during a call-over of matters before Toowoomba District Court yesterday, Judge Richards was told the neurologist’s report might not be available by June 18.Judge Richards therefore delisted the sentence and adjourned proceedings for mention back in the same court on June 25 when a new date for sentence was expected to be set.Byrnes was remanded in custody.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/church-warned-as-teacher-gerard-byrnes-admits-44-counts-of-child-sex-abuse/story-e6freuzr-1225853862863

Teacher Gerard Byrnes admits 44 counts of child sex abuse

  • From: The Australian
  • April 15, 2010 3:22AM
  • Teacher admits 44 sex abuse charges
  • More victims expected to come forward
  • Parents demand church hold inquiry

POLICE have warned the Catholic Church to expect more cases of child sex abuse to emerge from six schools that employed a veteran teacher who yesterday pleaded guilty to abusing 13 schoolgirls.

Former Christian brother Gerard Vincent Byrnes, 61, admitted to 44 sex abuse charges concerning students at a Toowoomba primary school, where he also served as the child protection officer.

Among them were 10 counts of raping a child under 12.

In court documents, Queensland police said they expected more victims to come forward now that Byrnes, who taught at six other Catholic schools in Sydney and Queensland, had been publicly identified.

“It is unknown how many other complainant children there are in the community as the defendant has had a long, 39-year teaching career,” police investigators said in an affidavit.

“Police expect that once this matter is before the court and the defendant is later recognised through the media, that further, more historical complainants will present with allegations of abuse of a similar nature as those of the current complainant children.”

Parents of some of the Toowoomba victims – all girls – yesterday demanded an open inquiry by the church into the past behaviour of the father of eight.

“It is what we have wanted all along, for the church to be open and honest about this person and his history as a teacher and principal,” one mother told The Australian.

“There are a lot of questions about his past. The church already failed to act when the first victim came to them, and more children were abused.”

Toowoomba bishop William Morris, who last year sacked the primary school’s principal and two senior Catholic Education officials for failing to act on a complaint by one of the first victims, said he would now inform his counterparts in the three other dioceses where Byrnes had taught, “to ensure they are fully informed in relation to this matter”.

Byrnes taught at Sydney’s St Pius X secondary school between 1970 and 1976, before moving to the Gold Coast, where he taught at Aquinas Secondary School.

He was then made deputy principal at Our Lady College, Longreach, before becoming headmaster in 1992 at St Joseph’s Primary School, Tara, and in 1994 being appointed headmaster at St Mary’s Primary School in Charleville.

In 1997, he went back to teaching at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Toowoomba before moving in 2001 to the school, which cannot be named, where he committed the offences.

A psychiatric assessment, conducted soon after Byrnes’s arrest in November 2008, described the once-popular teacher as having no “reaction of distress or of personal concern” about the allegations against him.

Byrnes’s sentencing for the sex offences was yesterday adjourned for a neurological assessment amid conflicting psychologists’ reports. One claimed he showed onset of dementia.

Last year, the principal of the Toowoomba school became the first person in Australia, and among only a handful worldwide, to be charged under laws mandating the reporting to police of any suspicions of sexual abuse involving a child.

Police launched the investigation into the school’s handling of the case after a series of reports by The Australian revealed the principal had failed to act on complaints in September 2007 from parents of a nine-year-old child about her abuse.

At the time there were other complaints from staff about the teacher’s behaviour, including his growing notoriety for enticing children to sit on his lap with the offer of lollies.

The principal later admitted it was then that he “reasonably suspected” the teacher had sexually abused at least one child and that he failed to tell police.

Read more on Gerard Byrne’s crimes at The Australian.

 

Luke Batty, 11, dies in horrific attack by his father, Greg Anderson at Tyabb cricket oval


UPDATE 14/02/14

Victoria’s Chief Police Commissioner Ken Lay says police had been dealing with complaints against Anderson for at least a decade and there were five outstanding warrants for his arrest relating to domestic violence.

“We owe it to the community, we owe it to Luke, we owe it to Rosie to understand exactly what happened not only with police, but other services so the community can understand exactly what happened but I just hope that this may well be the next step to get so much better in the family violence space,”

 says police had been dealing with complaints against Anderson for at least a decade

says police had been dealing with complaints against Anderson for at least a decade

Killer dad Greg Anderson tormented family for years, faced arrest warrants and threatened to kill Luke’s mother

We can reveal that Greg Anderson should have been behind bars when he murdered his son.

Police failed to execute ­arrest warrants in the weeks leading up to Wednesday night’s horrific incident.

Anderson was a violent drifter who had tormented his ­estranged family for years.

The warrants were issued after he repeatedly failed to turn up at court on charges of assaulting Luke’s mum and threatening to kill her.

It is understood four separate warrants for his arrest were issued throughout January but police failed to apprehend him.

Victoria Police said that its investigations would look into “not only the events on the night, but also all relevant circumstances which preceded them”.

The force said it would not be commenting further.

On May 16, 2012, Anderson assaulted Rosie Batty by grabbing her by the hair, pushing her to the ground and kicking her before threatening her with a glass vase.

Ms Batty told police she feared her former partner suffered from some form of mental disorder.

Anderson was also arrested and charged after making threats to kill her on January 3 last year.

During the incident Anderson allegedly said to Ms Batty: “Right now I really want to kill you. I want to cut off your foot. I hope you have made a will.”

Anderson was arrested again by police on May 27 last year after attending his son’s football training.

Sources say Anderson, who was living in his unregistered car, had little to do with his son for years before re-entering his life and taking his mother through a long court battle.

Although known to Hastings and Frankston police, who felt sorry for Ms Batty, Anderson’s legal matters were ongoing so he didn’t have prior convictions at the time of his death.

Despite the incidents of domestic violence in the past two years, Anderson and Ms Batty had tried to work out ­access visits for Luke. In addition to the threats to kill and assault charges, Anderson was also facing a charge relating to accessing child porn.

He was arrested after viewing the porn at Emerald Hill Library on November 17, 2012.

Library staff noticed what he was looking at and raised the alarm. When Anderson was arrested he was found with a USB stick containing the child porn images.

Sources say Anderson had psychological issues but refused to be assessed or treated.

It is believed family had wanted Anderson to get counselling but he had refused.

Considering there were warrants out for Anderson’s arrest, questions have been raised as to whether he should have been allowed to have an access visit.

A man who shared a house with Anderson said he had to ask him to leave after being threatened with death.

The man, who did not want to be named, had lived with Anderson in Chelsea Heights since late last year but decided three weeks ago he had to go.

“We knew he had psychological problems but we found out recently how crazy he was,” the man said yesterday.

“He threatened to kill me. I had to take out an intervention order against him. I was meant to go

LUKE Batty was seen with his father after 6pm, when training finished, doing extra batting practice.

It is understood about 20 minutes later, the father was spotted bending over the motionless boy.

Police believe the child had been struck to the head with a cricket bat and attacked with a knife as he lay prone on the field. It was initially thought Luke may have suffered a sporting injury so ambulance officers were called. They were confronted by a bloodied, knife-wielding Mr Anderson.

Four police arrived soon after and were menaced by Mr Anderson, who reportedly asked to be shot as he advanced on them. Capsicum spray had no impact and, as he then closed on one policeman, that officer fired one shot to the chest, felling Mr Anderson.

Police then moved in and cleared the weapon away but Mr Anderson continued to struggle as paramedics tried to get him into an ambulance and off to hospital.

No car connected to the armed dad was found at the scene, leading police to believe he may have caught the train from Chelsea Heights to Tyabb. A premeditated suicide-by-cop scenario is one element of the probe into the tragedy.

The father made no attempt to leave the scene after the attack on his son and continued to advance on police as the risk of being shot escalated.

Police Association Secretary Greg Davies said there was then no option but to fire.

“There’s every likelihood this is suicide-by-cop. You’ve got a knife and they’ve all got firearms,” Sen-Sgt Davies said.

“It’s a police officer’s worst nightmare to see a young tacker apparently murdered by a man who turns out to be his father, who then advances on you with a knife. They (police) appear to have done everything possible to avoid this outcome.”

Veteran police were shocked at the brutality, one comparing it with the actions of child-killers Robert Farquharson and Arthur Freeman. “This is horrific and it’s in front of other kids,” one officer said.

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
May 2012: Anderson unlawfully assaults Rosemary Batty at her home in Tyabb by grabbing her hair, pushing her to the ground and kicking her before threatening her with a glass vase. Later charged.

November 2012: Caught by staff at Emerald Hill library viewing child porn on a public computer. Charged by police with viewing child porn and two months later possessing child porn when officers find him with a USB stick containing the images.

January 2013: Anderson again attends Ms Batty’s home and allegedly threatens to kill her. Arrested later that day and charged.

April 2013: Fails to appear in accordance with his bail conditions at Frankston Magistrates’ Court.

January 2014: Warrants are issued for Anderson’s arrest after repeated failures to attend his court dates.

What a tragic awful crime, committed in front of kids and families who just finished cricket training. It must have been so hard for paramedics trying to save this cowards life after he had just murdered his own son in cold blood. My heart goes out to the mum who was also there and witnessed it…

WHY does this happen?

UPDATE 5.30 pm 13/02/14

Rosie Batty in ‘disbelief’ after son Luke killed on cricket oval by father Greg, who had history of mental illness

By Monique Ross

The mother of an 11-year-old boy killed by his father at a cricket ground in Victoria has spoken of her shock, and revealed her estranged partner had a history of mental illness and was the subject of an apprehended violence order (AVO).

Luke Batty with his mother Rosie

Luke Batty with his mother Rosie

Luke Batty was killed in front of horrified onlookers after a cricket training session at the oval in the small town of Tyabb, south-east of Melbourne, on Wednesday evening.

His 54-year-old father Greg was shot by police at the scene and died in hospital early this morning.

Luke’s mother Rosie Batty was at the cricket ground when the tragedy unfolded, after her son asked for “a few more minutes” with his father.

This afternoon she described her “shock” and “disbelief” and told reporters her estranged partner Greg was a man who loved his son but had suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness for two decades.

“Luke was nearly as tall as me. He was sensitive. He enjoyed his footy, he enjoyed his cricket,” she said.

Luke was nearly as tall as me. He was effervescent, he was funny. He wasn’t the best scholar but he was intelligent.

“He was effervescent, he was funny. He wasn’t the best scholar but he was intelligent. He enjoyed his school.”

She says Luke loved his father and “felt pain” because he knew he was struggling.

“He was a little boy in a growing body that felt pain and sadness and fear for his mum, and he always believed he would be safe with his dad,” she said.

“[I told him] ‘you’ll always love your dad. You won’t always like what they do or say, but you’ll always love your dad, and he’ll always love you’.”

Father had long history of mental illness

Ms Batty says she had known Greg for 20 years, and over that time his mental health deteriorated.

“[He went] from someone who brushed off losing a job to someone that was unemployable,” she said.

“He was in a homelessness situation for many years. His life was failing. Everything was becoming worse in his life and Luke was the only bright light in his life.”

She says Greg had been offered help, but he failed to accept it, instead choosing to “believe he was OK”.

She had an AVO against Greg, but says he loved Luke and there were no signs he would ever hurt their son.

No-one loved Luke more than Greg, his father. No-one loved Luke more than me. We both loved him.

“You’re dealing with someone who’s always had problems, and they start out small and over the years they get bigger, but he’s still the father,” she said.

“He loved his son. Everyone that’s involved with children would know that whatever action they take is not because they don’t love them.

“No-one loved Luke more than Greg, his father. No-one loved Luke more than me. We both loved him.”

She says people thought she was the one at risk, and some had urged her to return to her home country.

“Doctors, psychologists, everyone said to me, why don’t you go back to England and live there? But Luke wanted to be here,” she said.

“His school was here, his friends were here. And I had decided that was the right choice.”

‘Family violence happens to everybody’

Ms Batty says if there is a silver lining to be found in the tragedy, it will be increased awareness about the issue of family violence.

“I want to tell people that family violence happens to [anybody], no matter how nice your house is, no matter how intelligent you are,” she said.

“When you’re involved with family violence, friends, family judge you, the woman. The decisions you should make, the decisions you don’t make.

I want to tell people that family violence happens to [anybody], no matter how nice your house is, no matter how intelligent you are.

“You’re the victim, but you become the person that people condemn.

“The people here reading this will say ‘why didn’t she protect him, why didn’t she make certain decisions’.

“But when you actually finally decide enough is enough, and decide to go through a court process, you do not know what the outcome will be.

‘What I want people to take from this is that it isn’t simple. People judge you, people tell you what you should do. You do the best you can.”

She says she does not regret allowing Greg to have a relationship with his son despite the problems, as her “guiding star” was ensuring Luke knew he was loved by both of his parents.

Mother first thought it was an accident

Ms Batty says her son died after what was “just a normal cricket practice”.

“Most of the kids and parents had gone. Luke came to me and said, ‘could I have a few more minutes with my dad’ because he doesn’t see him very often and I said, ‘sure, OK’,” she said.

“There was no reason to be concerned. I thought it was in an open environment.”

She says when she realised something was wrong, she thought an accident had happened and tried to call an ambulance.

“I tried to ring but couldn’t ring because I was too stressed. I looked for help and I ran towards help, screaming ‘get an ambulance, this is really bad’,” she said.

“I thought Greg had accidentally hurt him from a bowling accident … and that Greg’s anguish was because he had hurt Luke accidentally.

“I was screaming, I was inconsolable.”

Paramedics called to the sports ground on Frankston-Flinders Road treated the boy but were unable to revive him.

Police are refusing to give more details of the incident, but some witnesses say a cricket bat was used.

Ms Batty says it was only later that she realised that what happened to Luke was not an accident.

“What I saw that I thought was Greg comforting Luke and helping him with what I thought was an accident, wasn’t necessarily what I saw,” she said.

“The full extent of what happened I don’t want anyone, other than the [coroner], to know.

“Luke was killed by his father. No-one else including myself needs to know the details of what he actually did.”

‘Police acted the way they needed to act’

Homicide detectives have spoken to several children who saw Luke die and then watched as police then shot his father.

Officers say they shot the man in the chest after he threatened them with a knife. Police say they tried to subdue him with capsicum spray but that did not work.

Greg, from Chelsea Heights, was flown to Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital, where he died about 1:30am.

Ms Batty says police did not do anything wrong.

“The police acted the way they needed to act. In the past Greg has been confrontational and difficult,” she said.

“The police had no other option.”

She says Greg had not violated terms of the AVO by attending the event.

“It was allowed from the intervention order. It was a public place, I believed he was safe,” she said.

“It was just a little cricket practice. There was people there, I believed he was safe.”

Ms Batty says she is grateful for the support of loved ones, and will soon be joined by family who are travelling to Australia from England.

February 13, 2014 12:02PM

EMOTIONAL friends have paid tribute online to an 11-year-old boy who was stabbed to death on the Mornington Peninsula last night.

Luke Batty was horrifically killed by his father during cricket training at Tyabb Cricket Ground about 6.30pm yesterday.

Paramedics frantically tried to revive the Grade 6 student, but he died at the scene from head injuries.

Tributes to the slain boy began pouring in on social media last night, with one Facebook page attracting nearly 6,000 members by 9am.

Carol Bennett said she was “so sorry that you were taken so early in your life and in such a horrific way.”

Tahila Williams wrote: “It’s sad to see such a young boy have his life taken away from him when he had done nothing wrong.”

Yvette Wagg said: “Very sad and shocked to hear this devastating news… Condolences to all”.

After the attack four police officers tried to subdue his knife-wielding father with capsicum spray before shooting him in the chest, witnesses said.

The Chelsea Heights man, 54, was taken to The Alfred hospital where he died about 1.30am, Victoria Police spokeswoman Natalie Webster said.

“I can confirm that the male that the police shot was the father of the deceased boy,” Commander Doug Fryer said last night.

The boy’s mother was at the ground.

“We’ve had an absolute tragedy here tonight,” Commander Fryer said from the scene.

“It’s a horrific scene.”

Speaking this morning, Commander Fryer said it had been a “shocking time” for the boy’s family, the witnesses at the scene and the officers involved.

“Our members were confronted by an incident that thankfully, it’s very rare when it happens, but when it does, they put their training into practice,” Commander Fryer told 3AW.

“They used an option that they thought appropriate and unfortunately we’ve now got two people dead.”

Commander Fryer said the boy’s mother, who was estranged from his father, was “in close proximity to where this happened”.

“I don’t know how a mother gets past losing her son in these sorts of ways,” he said.

Children were at the ground for cricket training and Commander Fryer said police wanted to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident.

“We spoke to a lot of people last night,” he said.

“Because cricket practice had just finished, we think there were probably kids down there and parents down there that may have seen something who we haven’t yet spoken to.

Luke’s classmates were told of his tragic death this morning when they arrived at Flinders Christian Community College in Tyabb.

The flag was flying at half-mast as parents, students and teachers rallied around each other.

Luke was remembered as a popular, happy child who loved life and enjoyed his sport at an emotional school meeting this morning.

Executive principal Jill Healey said the death of the popular Year 6 student was “an absolute shock and a tragedy”.

“There were lots of tears this morning,” she said.

She said the school community was coping as well as could be expected, and that counselling had been arranged for all those affected by Luke’s death.

Luke’s friends plan to hold a vigil for the 11-year-old at the cricket oval where he was killed.

The small community is reeling from the horrible crime and friends have already begun to bring flowers.

Taylor Cuthbertson, 15, said a friend of hers was a witness to the horrible scenes.

“He was just crying when he was telling me what happened.

“It’s so horrible.”

Emergency services were called to the oval on Frankston-Flinders Rd in Tyabb about 6.30pm yesterday following the vicious attack.

Witnesses said when officers from Mornington police station arrived, the father turned on them with a knife, forcing them to shoot him.

The man was flown to The Alfred hospital, where he later died.

The incident shocked the local community, with one resident describing it as “bloody horrific”.

Tyabb Cricket Club officials would not comment about the incident last night, saying it was “too raw”.

But the club’s junior cricket co-ordinator, Ron Dyall, said the boy — in grade 6 at Flinders Christian Community College — had played for the club for two or three years and was also an avid footballer.

Mr Dyall said he was devastated by what had happened.

“As his coach, I knew him pretty well,” he said.

“My own son plays in his team. I’m trying to figure out how to break it to him, and how we’re gonna deal with the kids.”

Local Wayne Murray, 64, said he heard what he thought was fireworks about the time of the shooting.

He said “a shiver (ran) down my spine” when he learned the sounds were gunshots.

“I heard a couple of pop pops,” he said.

“It didn’t sound unusually loud. I’ve never seen anything like this. It doesn’t happen here.”

Melissa, 37, who did not wish to give her surname, said her father had also heard gunshots.

“We heard helicopters going over the oval,” she said. “I have an 11-year-old. I was nearly in tears when I heard.”

Commander Fryer said four local officers were confronted by the knife-wielding man when they arrived about 6.40pm.

“They’ve attempted to use less than lethal force (OC foam). They’ve attempted to talk him down. That has been unsuccessful,” he said.

“They have then discharged a firearm, hitting that male once in the chest.”

Commander Fryer said police were still working to ­determine what caused the local boy’s death.

He could not confirm reports the boy was being beaten by his father with a cricket bat when police ­arrived, but said he suffered “significant injuries”.

 

 

 

Family of Bevan Meninga murder victim Cheree Richardson dreading imminent parole


This case is one of disgusting sick depraved torture and murder in my view, the case is so sad to read and this mongrel is getting out on parole. No one the family are scared. Bevan is the brother of famous Rugby league legend and coach Mal Meninga (an ex cop) some say he has had some influence on the case, who knows…

But big generous Mal, has offered for the crim to stay with him, can you imagine the freedom he would have with Mal away constantly coaching football etc? What a bloody joke that is, and reflects poorly on Mal being an ex cop, to think he is able to properly supervise and guide (grrrrrrrrr) his animal of a brother on parole.

FLASHBACK The Daily, August 7, 1992

FLASHBACK The Daily, August 7, 1992

Kay Dibben
The Courier-Mail
February 12, 2014

THE parents of Sunshine Coast murder victim Cheree Richardson are dreading the imminent release from jail of her killer, Mal Meninga’s brother Bevan Meninga.

Family of Bevan Meninga murder victim Cheree Richardson dreading imminent parole  Kay Dibben  The Courier-Mail  February 12, 2014  THE parents of Sunshine Coast murder victim Cheree Richardson are dreading the imminent release from jail of her killer, Mal Meninga’s brother Bevan Meninga.  Bevan Meninga, 42, who has served 21 years behind bars, could be out of jail within weeks on conditional parole. Meninga brother set to walk free  Famous brother made prison life hell  Meninga’s parole bid for brother It is understood a condition of his parole will be that he not live on the Sunshine Coast, where Cheree was killed, which means he cannot live with his mother as he had planned. Mal Meninga, who also offered his brother a home with his family in Brisbane, said yesterday his brother would be living with a sponsor outside his household. “But we’ll be there providing support for him, and we’ll visit him on a regular basis to ensure that he’s happy, he’s being looked after, he’s cared for,’’ he said. Meninga said the family would help his brother reintegrate into the community. “It’s really important the Meninga family get behind him,’’ Meninga said. Bevan Meninga murdered Richardson in 1991 by hitting her with a tree branch, later claiming he had been intoxicated at the time. Mal Meninga said yesterday his brother was extremely remorseful for what he had done and had “a lot of empathy for the victim and her family’’. Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group general manager Ross Thompson said Cheree’s parents Helen and John Richardson were dreading Bevan Meninga’s release. He said they did not want him back on the Sunshine Coast. “It’s where it all happened,’’ Mr Thompson said. “Now he is about to be out on parole it brings it all back to the family, it makes them feel very insecure, regardless of where he will live. “This takes them back to the very first days it happened.’’ Bevan Meninga took the Queensland Parole Board to the Supreme Court last month to force it to make a decision on his parole application, after waiting more than a year. The board has not yet approved his parole because conditions, including where he will live, are still being finalised. Conditions against his use of alcohol and illicit drugs also are expected, as psychiatrists and the board have expressed concern about the risk of him returning to substance abuse. Both Mal Meninga’s home and that of their mother were assessed for suitability for Bevan Meninga by probation and parole officers. On January 29 the board wrote to Meninga saying he might pose “an unacceptably high level of risk if released from custody at this stage’’, but invited him to make submissions.

Family of Bevan Meninga murder victim Cheree Richardson dreading imminent parole 

Bevan Meninga, 42, who has served 21 years behind bars, could be out of jail within weeks on conditional parole.

Meninga brother set to walk free

Famous brother made prison life hell

Meninga’s parole bid for brother

It is understood a condition of his parole will be that he not live on the Sunshine Coast, where Cheree was killed, which means he cannot live with his mother as he had planned.

Mal Meninga, who also offered his brother a home with his family in Brisbane, said yesterday his brother would be living with a sponsor outside his household

Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga has offered to have his brother live with him if paroled.

Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga has offered to have his brother live with him if paroled.

“But we’ll be there providing support for him, and we’ll visit him on a regular basis to ensure that he’s happy, he’s being looked after, he’s cared for,’’ he said.

Meninga said the family would help his brother reintegrate into the community.

“It’s really important the Meninga family get behind him,’’ Meninga said.

Bevan Meninga murdered Richardson in 1991 by hitting her with a tree branch, later claiming he had been intoxicated at the time.

He not only hit her with the tree branch, the sick bastard, use you imagination folks…sick

Mal Meninga said yesterday his brother was extremely remorseful for what he had done and had “a lot of empathy for the victim and her family’’.

Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group general manager Ross Thompson said Cheree’s parents Helen and John Richardson were dreading Bevan Meninga’s release. He said they did not want him back on the Sunshine Coast.

“It’s where it all happened,’’ Mr Thompson said.

“Now he is about to be out on parole it brings it all back to the family, it makes them feel very insecure, regardless of where he will live.

“This takes them back to the very first days it happened.’’

Bevan Meninga took the Queensland Parole Board to the Supreme Court last month to force it to make a decision on his parole application, after waiting more than a year.

The board has not yet approved his parole because conditions, including where he will live, are still being finalised.

Conditions against his use of alcohol and illicit drugs also are expected, as psychiatrists and the board have expressed concern about the risk of him returning to substance abuse.

Both Mal Meninga’s home and that of their mother were assessed for suitability for Bevan Meninga by probation and parole officers.

On January 29 the board wrote to Meninga saying he might pose “an unacceptably high level of risk if released from custody at this stage’’, but invited him to make submissions.

Mal Meninga in parole bid for brother Bevan, serving time for murder

LEAGUE legend Mal Meninga offered to have his brother Bevan, a convicted murderer, live in his Brisbane family home if he was released on parole.

Mal Meninga's letter in support of his brother.

Mal Meninga’s letter in support of his brother.

Bevan, who has served 21 years for the “horrific killing” of 19-year-old Cheree Richardson, has gone to court to force the Queensland Parole Board to make a decision.

Early last year, a probation and parole officer assessed Mal’s home’s suitability for Bevan, saying Mal had agreed to have him live there.

However, late last year Bevan applied to live with their mother on the Sunshine Coast, where Cheree was murdered, Supreme Court documents show.

In his latest release plan, filed in court, Bevan said his brother had offered to move him and his mother to Brisbane after his initial community reintegration on the Sunshine Coast.

“If the move to Brisbane is approved, my brother has full-time employment,” the document says.

Mal wrote in a letter to the board in 2012 that he “supported Bevan by phone, letters and visits over the term of his incarceration and have kept a keen interest in his welfare”.

“I believe family support is so invaluable, regardless of his wrongdoing … the family love, respect and support is paramount to his reintegration,” the letter states.

“Whilst as a family we don’t condone his actions of the past, I will make certain that Bevan will have the necessary family support during his reintegration.”

Last week, the Queensland Parole Board said Bevan might pose “an unacceptably high level of risk if released from custody at this stage” and gave him two weeks to prove otherwise.

Bevan murdered Cheree in 1991 by hitting her with a tree branch.

She had massive head and internal injuries.

The board says it is concerned Bevan, who claimed he was intoxicated at the time, could reoffend if he returned to alcohol or drug abuse.

Bevan has been eligible for parole since 2005 but has been kept in jail and has been waiting since January last year for a decision on his ­latest application.

He is at a low-security ­prison farm in Rathdowney.

A MAN who partied with teenager Cheree Richardson just an hour before her murder says he is still haunted by that night, 23 years after she was murdered.

Gavin Seib told the Daily yesterday that he believed the man convicted of Cheree’s rape and killing, Bevan Meninga, should never be released from prison.

Mr Seib spoke for the first time about his deep feeling of regret after going home early that night rather than staying around to make sure his new friend was safe.

He said he has battled to suppress his deep guilt for more than two decades.

His emotional problems erupted in stress and mental difficulties last year.

He decided to finally speak publicly about that horrific time in his life after reading reports that Meninga, who was jailed for life over the murder, may be released on parole – possibly as soon as today.

“I was talking to a girl who was brutally murdered an hour later,” Mr Seib said about that night in Mooloolaba.

“It has affected me my entire life.

“She was a lovely person, me and her got on like a house on fire, and over the years this has mentally stuffed me up.”

Mr Seib was 22 and out on the town when he met Cheree.

They chatted, laughed, he bought her drinks, they had a great time.

They even talked about his girlfriend, who Cheree had wanted to meet.

“We made plans to catch up after that night, but we never had the chance.

“I just want to say what a wonderful person she was.

“She’ll always be in my heart to the day I die.”

Cheree’s mutilated body was found two days later in dense parkland at Alexandra Headland.

Mr Seib, now 46, said he regrets leaving early that fateful night.

He believes he should have ensured his new friend’s safety before he left.

“I blamed myself,” he said of the death.

“When I left, I turned around to see her and I saw she was with him and he would look after her.

“I put my trust in him.”

“(I should have asked), ‘Are you right? Do you need a lift home?’

“She was a nice, lovely, happy-go-lucky woman and for someone to do that to her was horrific.”

Mr Seib, a prawn fisherman, is adamant that Meninga should remain behind bars for the murder.

“He got a life sentence, doesn’t that mean life?”

“It’s about time they stopped all this.

“People who murder people should get what they were sentenced.”

He also advised anyone who was struggling with deep guilt or anxiety to seek help soon from a doctor.

“It’ll do (them) a world of good to speak to someone about it.”

 

Simon Gittany gets 26 years’ jail (min 18) for murdering Lisa Harnum


The previous post can be found here
Gets 26 years, min of 18 years before parole. Inadequate in my view. new girlfriend Rachelle Louise was not in court, ching ching,
If you have a spare 30 minutes watch the first part of the $150,000 interview and story right here folks, a real eye opener
17/02/14 update new interview with the 2 detectives who saw his violent side nearly 20 years ago, when Gittany bit part of one detectives ear OFF while being arrested…yeah the guy Rachelle said would make a fantastic dad.Until the little kid piddled his pants or something….

16/02/14 UPDATED WITH 2ND PART AFTER THE FIRST BELOW

GUILTY SIGN

Hopefully she will collect a big fat cheque today from TV today, pocket it, and never utter his name again, gotcha Gittany

Official Sentence summary  from today can be found below, full transcript to follow once released folks. (click for bigger view)

Gittany Sentence Summary 11-02-14

Simon Gittany sentenced to at least 18 years for fiancée Lisa Harnum’s murder

Murderer Simon Gittany’s violent past revealed

Simon Gittany has been sentenced to 26 years’ jail, with a non-parole period of 18 years, for the murder of his fiancée Lisa Harnum.

Simon Gittany and Lisa Harnum. Sentenced to 26 years for tossing her off a highrise balcony

Simon Gittany and Lisa Harnum. Sentenced to 26 years for tossing her off a highrise balcony

Gittany threw Ms Harnum to her death from the balcony of their 15th floor apartment in inner Sydney on a Saturday morning in July 2011.

NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum, who presided over Gittany’s judge-only trial last year, today also handed down his punishment.

Justice McCallum said that jailing Gittany for life would be excessive, but his family in the court’s public gallery still erupted when she delivered the sentence.

“In the name of Jesus, that will never happen,” one family member yelled.

The judge ordered the family members to be removed from the court.

Earlier Justice McCallum had described the cruelty of the crime.

“Ms Harnum must have been in a state of complete terror in the moments before her death,” she said.

Justice McCallum described Gittany as “arrogant” and said he had punished Ms Harnum during their relationship for “small acts of defiance” such as wearing her hair down.

The court heard about Gittany’s previous potential for violence, including an incident in which he bit off part of a policeman’s ear in 1994.

“It has a troubling resonance with the present offence,” Justice McCallum said.

The judge told the court that she had excluded evidence from a surprise prosecution witness last week – a former colleague of Ms Harnum who said Gittany had previously threatened to kill Ms Harnum and make it look like suicide.

The businessman’s current girlfriend, Rachelle Louise, who has fiercely defended Gittany and has been by his side for much of his trial, was not in court for the sentencing.

Gittany himself was led up from the cells beneath the courtroom, but showed no emotion as he listened to the judge’s comments.

AMY DALE
The Daily Telegraph
February 07, 2014

BALCONY killer Simon Gittany could spend 20 years in jail for the “cold and calculating” murder of his fiancee – a killing he almost successfully portrayed as suicide, his sentencing was told yesterday.

Justice Lucy McCallum also indicated the decision of Gittany’s family to “embark on a campaign” that doggedly protests his innocence over the killing of Lisa Harnum could be viewed as “an impediment to rehabilitation”.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC told the court it could be “very much guided” by the standard non-parole period for murder in NSW, which is 20 years.

In his closing sentencing submissions, Mr Tedeschi said Gittany had used “the height and gravity” of the 15th storey balcony as a weapon in throwing Ms Harnum to her death seconds after she had been “screaming for her life”.

Rachelle Louise arrives for the second day of sentencing submissions in boyfriend Simon Gittany’s case.

Rachelle Louise has been a very vocal supporter of Simon Gittany.

Rachelle Louise seemed to be in a good mood when she arrived at court today.

“Were it not for the observations of (witness) Joshua Rathmell and were it not for the pinhole camera which captured the offender dragging the deceased back inside … it was a cold and calculating way of killing her in a manner which would have enabled him to pass it off as suicide,” Mr Tedeschi said.

Justice McCallum said Gittany had “a defiant denial of guilt” and, along with his family and girlfriend Rachelle Louise, appeared determined to “maintain the rage until (in his mind) justice is done”.

Prosecutors say Gittany has shown no contrition or remorse, which makes it hard to assess his rehabilitation prospects, but his barrister has asked the court to hand down a sentence “significantly lower” than the 20-year minimum.

Barrister Philip Strickland SC said Gittany’s criminal record, which includes a conviction for biting part of a policeman’s ear off in 1994, shouldn’t be given much weight upon sentence.

The court heard the relationship he has with Ms Louise has “no features at all of an abusive relationship”.

More than 40 character references were tendered to the court on Gittany’s behalf, with Justice McCallum saying some appear “to be asking for mercy on the basis I might be wrong (in the guilty verdict).”

Mr Strickland said references spoke of a gentle Gittany with dreams of being a priest.

Mr Tedeschi said the references suggest “the offender is two completely different people. One person to his family and a completely different person presenting in the relationship (with Lisa Harnum).

Simon Gittany sentence hearing over murder of Lisa Harnum Day 1,2


This is live and ongoing reporting from the court folks, I will be out this afternoon, so feel free to add new news in comments for now and I will update tonight…I hope he gets LIFE
Day 2 is under way, and the NEW girlfriend made a much quieter grand entrance today!

He was found guilty last year of murdering his fiancee, Lisa Cecilia Harnum on July 30, 2011.

Gittany, 40, who pleaded not guilty, was found to have thrown the 30-year-old off their 15th-floor balcony in Sydney in a fit of “apoplectic” rage after she made plans to leave him and return to her native Canada.

In a shock move, the Crown introduced a new witness to give evidence against Gittany at the sentence hearing, regarding the abusive relationship between Ms Harnum and Gittany.

The Crown will use the new evidence to argue Gittany had “frequently threatened Lisa Harnum with death if she ever left him”.

Lisa Harnum who died after falling from the 15th floor of an apartment in Sydney, Australia. Picture: International Austral

Lisa Harnum who died after falling from the 15th floor of an apartment in Sydney, Australia. Picture: International Austral Source: Supplied

The witness, who has not been named and met Ms Harnum at beauty college, only came forward after the prosecution closed its case last year.

“I thought there was an ample amount of people who knew what happened, so I thought there was enough evidence without me,” the new witness said.

She said her own relationship was abusive and Ms Harnum had asked her how and why she had left.

Ms Harnum told her friend that if she left Gittany “he’d kill me” and he had said he would find her if she fled.

As the witness spoke of the almost daily death threats against Ms Harnum in court, she broke down.

She said Ms Harnum feared he would poison her food, and that if Gittany killed her “he would make it look like suicide”.

To help her friend out of the situation, she offered her money as she expressed fears he was also tracking her finances.

As the new evidence was revealed at the hearing, Gittany turned to his lawyer and mouthed “seriously” and shook his head. He then gestured they needed to speak.

Gittany’s barrister, Philip Strickland SC, dismissed the new claims as “fabricated” and “made up”.

Simon Gittany and Lisa Harnum. Picture: Channel 7

Simon Gittany and Lisa Harnum. Picture: Channel 7 Source: Supplied

Ms Harnum’s mother, Joan, used her victim statement to call for the end to domestic violence and express the unimaginable grief a family feels at losing their loved one.

Lisa Harnum sleeping. Picture:

Lisa Harnum sleeping. Picture: “Respectance” Source: No Source

The statement was read out by her daughter’s counsellor, Michelle Richmond, who played an integral part in trying to help Ms Harnum escape Gittany’s abuse.

The Harnums remained in Toronto, Canada for family reasons.

The statement read: “When a parent dies, you lose your past. When a child dies, you lose your future.

“A child who loses a parent is an orphan. But there’s no word for a parent who loses a child.”

She outlined the control of Gittany over her daughter’s life and the violent end Ms Harnum ultimately faced.

“No one has the right to control a person’s life so intensely.

“She was taken too early and in such a violent way. It’s a wound that will never heal.”

Joan Harnum leaves court after Simon Gittany's was found guilty of murdering girlfriend Lisa Harnum.

Joan Harnum leaves court after Simon Gittany’s was found guilty of murdering girlfriend Lisa Harnum. Source: News Limited

Gittany looked to his feet and played with the buttons on his shirt as the powerful statement continued.

“All Gittany had to do that day was step aside and let her come home to her family.”

“It was a senseless and thoughtless act of violence,” the statement said.

“Lisa Cecilia’s death has caused a cry around the world to stop violence against women and children.

Simon Gittany and Lisa Harnum. Picture: Channel 7

Simon Gittany and Lisa Harnum. Picture: Channel 7 Source: Supplied

“Stop the unimaginable pain and profound loss caused by domestic violence. Let my daughter’s cries be heard.”

Sunday Promo: Inside Simon Gittany’s secret life 1:00

http://content5.video.news.com.au/NDM_-_news.com.au/11/465/2434913652_promo215816506.jpeg

In a Sunday Night exclusive, we take you inside Simon Gittany’s secret life and hear his new lover’s explosive claims.

THE WOMAN WHO LOVES A MURDERER

In a bizarre act, Gittany’s current girlfriend, Rachelle Louise, and supporters earlier arrived outside court holding signs advocating his innocence.

Rachelle Louise protests her partner's ...

Rachelle Louise protests her partner’s innocence. Source: News Limited

Without uttering a word, Ms Louise pointed to signs carrying the name of notorious acquitted murderers, including Gordon Wood and Lindy Chamberlain.

Another sign read: “How do you render Some 1 unconscious in less than 65 sec without any sign of trauma to the body”.

Rachelle Louise & supporters arrives at Darlinghurst court to hear sentencing submission against partner Sim...

Rachelle Louise and supporters arrive at court to hear sentencing submission against her partner Simon Gittany who was found guilty of murdering Lisa Harnam. Source: News Limited

THE GITTANY TRIAL

Gittany’s trial heard he was controlling of Ms Harnum, installing CCTV in his apartment and using a computer program to monitor her text messages, emails and internet usage.

CCTV captures Lisa Harnum’s final moments 0:52

CCTV footage shows Lisa Harnum and Simon Gittany together minutes before her death.

But while Gittany admitted some of his behaviour towards Ms Harnum was controlling, he has always denied that he flew into a rage on the morning of her death.

Supplied CCTV footage showing murder suspect Paul Gittany on the night he is accused of killing his girlfriend.

Supplied CCTV footage showing murder suspect Simon Gittany on the night he is accused of killing his girlfriend. Source: Supplied

He told the court that after an argument that morning – in which he was captured on camera dragging a screaming Ms Harnum back into their apartment – he went to make her a cup of tea while she sat on the lounge.

Supplied CCTV footage showing murder suspect Paul Gittany on the night he is accused of killing his girlfriend.

Supplied CCTV footage showing murder suspect Simon Gittany on the night he is accused of killing his girlfriend. Source: Supplied

Gittany said Ms Harnum then ran to the balcony and “disappeared” over the railing as he desperately tried to reach her.

But in a damning judgment handed down over nearly five hours in November last year, Justice Lucy McCallum found Gittany lied with “telling ease” and distorted the truth to denigrate the woman he murdered.

 

Wealthy businessman Brian Vincent Attwell sentenced to 8 years for hitman plot to have his estranged daughter-in-law murdered.


Brian Vincent Attwell, 74, was in November found guilty by a jury of the rare offence of attempting to procure the commission of a crime, following a five-day trial in the Albany Justice Complex.

Brian Vincent Attwell was motivated by sheer hatred, the prosecutor said.

Brian Vincent Attwell was motivated by sheer hatred, the prosecutor said.

The court heard the accused had asked a truck driver, who approached him desperate for work with his civil contracting company AD Contractors, to kill 50-year-old Michelle Patreena Attwell after becoming frustrated with a protracted, bitter legal dispute between her and his son following the breakdown of their marriage.

The driver informed police, who instructed him to set up a meeting between Attwell and an undercover policeman.

Attwell met the policeman twice at a beach near the woman’s home and paid $10,000 in two instalments as a down payment on a $30,000 job, telling the officer to bind her in duct tape, strangle her and bury her in a 30-foot hole dug by an excavator.

During the trial, Attwell argued his comments were “huff and puff”, while defence lawyer Tom Percy said his client was “a crotchety old bugger” and “a classic grumpy old man”, but he was not homicidal.

On Tuesday, Supreme Court of Western Australia Justice Ralph Simmonds said a term of immediate imprisonment was appropriate for such a serious offence.

“I consider this to be a serious example of a serious offence,” Justice Simmonds said.

He ruled that the maximum sentence for the offence was life imprisonment, not 14 years as contended by the defence.

Attwell will be eligible for parole after serving six years and six months in jail.

He spent more than six months in remand, meaning he’ll be 80 before he can be considered for release.

Justice Simmonds said aggravating factors included elements of premeditation and planning.

While that was unsophisticated, “there was calculation”, Justice Simmonds said.

Another aggravating factor was that Attwell had paid “a not insignificant sum”.

Referring to Ms Attwell’s victim impact statement, Justice Simmonds said she had suffered continuing trauma from her ordeal, including feeling vulnerable, losing sleep, a disrupted eating pattern, and fears for her children’s safety.

The court heard during sentencing submissions on Friday that she had been immensely frightened – not even even listening to music so she could hear if someone was approaching her house.

Justice Simmonds said Attwell had been held in high regard in the Albany community, where he was known for his generosity and successful business, but he had shown no remorse and no empathy towards his intended victim.

Albany businessman Brian Attwell was found guilty of trying to hire a hitman to kill his daughter-in-law.

Albany businessman Brian Attwell was found guilty of trying to hire a hitman to kill his daughter-in-law.

Justice Simmonds said he had taken into account Attwell’s ill physical health, with the frail diabetic suffering from limited mobility, however that could be satisfactorily managed in prison.

Attwell said via video link from Albany that he was “not very happy” and intended to appeal.

Well known WA sentenced to eight years and six months in jail, for attempting to hire a hitman to have his estranged daughter-in-law murdered.

Brian Vincent Attwell was found guilty last November of attempting to procure the murder of Michelle Patreena Attwell, the former wife of his son.

The 74-year-old from Albany was found to have paid $10,000 to an undercover police officer, posing as a hitman, to have the woman killed.

The court heard Attwell was angry over legal action after his son’s divorce and he was motivated by “sheer hatred” of Michelle Attwell.

The trial was played recordings of the businessman saying his daughter-in-law had cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars through Family Court proceedings, and he wanted her “strangled and buried”.

Justice Ralph Simmonds said Attwell had not accepted responsibility for his actions or shown any empathy or remorse.

He said Attwell’s offending was serious, aggravated by premeditation and planning, and he had behaved in a calculated way.

The judge said while he accepted time in custody would have a significant effect on Attwell, he said the seriousness of the offense was a stronger sentencing factor.

Justice Simmonds said the victim had suffered through “a loss of sleep, significant fear and difficulties returning to a normal life”.

Brian Attwell appeared via videolink from the prison.

Brian Attwell appeared via videolink from the prison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the verdict, Attwell told the judge he was “not very happy” and he planned to appeal.

Attwell said there were “anomalies in the courtroom” during the trial, which he said affected the way it played out.

Police interview reveals motive

An interview with police on the day he was arrested revealed Attwell admitted to meeting a man he knew only as Josh and paying him $2,000 to “do some investigations”.

The businessman was asked if he had requested Josh to kill his daughter-in-law, which he denied.

“I wouldn’t say ‘kill Michelle’, I’d say ‘bring her to her bloody senses’. Killing her would be a bit rich,” Attwell said.

“[Killing someone] is obviously not the right thing to do.”

But Attwell also described his daughter-in-law as a “nuisance to society”, “a bloody animal” and “a maggot” who he wanted “put to sleep” and “got rid of”.

He also said “there were about 40 blokes who would like to get hold of” Mrs Attwell.

During the trial, Detective First Class Constable Jon MacMillan testified that a police search of the businessman’s vehicle found a news article from the coverage of Lloyd Rayney‘s murder trial.

Mr Rayney was tried and acquitted of murdering his wife Corryn in November 2012.

Constable MacMillan told the court the article detailed evidence on Mrs Rayney’s body being exhumed from its Kings Park burial.

The officer also said police found a wooden axe handle in the vehicle and “a significant quantity” of cash in another premises that was searched.

Defence counsel Tom Percy argued his client’s statements that he wanted Mrs Attwell killed were “puff” and “an exaggeration”.

He told the jury Attwell had paid the officer to “keep his options open” but had no desire to have his daughter-in-law killed.

Part of the trial was held behind closed doors to allow a police officer, identified only as Officer 429, to testify.

Attwell will be eligible for parole after six years and six months, while the sentence was backdated to last August due to time spent in custody during the trial.

The earliest he can be released is early in 2020.

Albany businessman Brian Vincent Attwell found guilty of attempting to hire hit man to murder daughter-in-law Michelle Patreena Attwell

Updated Fri 29 Nov 2013,

A prominent Albany businessman has been found guilty of attempting to hire a hit man to murder his estranged daughter-in-law.

Brian Vincent Attwell was on trial in the Supreme Court in Albany, accused of paying $10,000 to an undercover police officer, posing as a hit man, to kill Michelle Patreena Attwell.

During the trial, prosecutor James McTaggart told the court Attwell was motivated by “sheer hatred” for the woman and told the “hit man” he wanted her strangled and then buried in a hole.

The court heard Attwell’s interview with police on the day he was arrested, in September last year.

In that interview, the accused admitted to meeting a man he knew only as Josh, and paying him $2,000 to “do some investigations”.

Attwell was asked if he had asked Josh to kill the woman, which he denied.

“I wouldn’t say ‘kill Michelle’; I’d say ‘bring her to her bloody senses’. Killing her would be a bit rich,” Attwell said in the interview.

“[Killing someone] is obviously not the right thing to do.”

But Attwell also described the woman as a “nuisance to society”, “a bloody animal” and “a maggot” who he wanted “put to sleep” and “got rid of”.

He also said “there were about 40 blokes who’d like to get hold of” Ms Attwell.

Trial told daughter-in-law cost hundreds of thousands

The trial was also played recordings of Attwell saying Ms Attwell had cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars and he wanted her “strangled and buried”, which prosecutor James MacTaggart has argued was his intention in paying the undercover officer.

Detective First Class Constable Jon MacMillan testified that a police search of the businessman’s vehicle found a news article from the coverage of Lloyd Rayney’s murder trial.

Mr Rayney was tried and acquitted of murdering his wife, Corryn, in a high-profile case in Perth.

Constable MacMillan told the court the article detailed evidence on Ms Rayney’s body being exhumed from its Kings Park burial site.

The officer also testified that police found a wooden axe handle in the vehicle and “a significant quantity” of cash in another premises which was searched.

Attwell denies the accusation he was attempting to have Ms Attwell killed, with his defence counsel Tom Percy arguing his client’s statements along those lines were “puff” and “an exaggeration”.

Mr Percy told the jury Attwell had paid the officer to “keep his options open” but had no desire to have his estranged daughter-in-law killed.

Part of the trial was held behind closed doors to allow a police officer, identified only as Officer 429, to testify.

Attwell was found guilty by a jury and is due to be sentenced in January.

A prominent Albany businessman accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill a woman has been committed to stand trial.

Brian Vincent Attwell, 73, appeared in the Stirling Gardens Magistrate’s Court today via video link from the Albany courthouse.

The earthmoving business owner is charged with attempting to procure the commission of murder.

The court was told Mr Attwell, who was recently released on bail that includes strict conditions such as a $500,000 personal undertaking with a similar surety and a $100,000 cash deposit, intends to plead not guilty.

It is uncertain at this stage whether the trial would be held in Perth or Albany, with the court told Mr Attwell’s defence keen to have the case heard in the Great Southern city.

Magistrate Jan Whitbread committed Mr Attwell to stand trial and adjourned the case for a first appearance in the Perth Supreme Court next month.

The identity of the alleged victim remains suppressed.

The court has previously been told Mr Attwell allegedly paid $10,000 to a man, who unbeknownst to him was an undercover police officer, to kill a woman.

He allegedly requested the woman be strangled to avoid any blood being spilt and said he would use his work equipment to dig a 30-foot grave.

GERARD BADEN-CLAY Hearing 3rd Feb 2014-UPDATED


04/02/14 UPDATE FOR DAY 2

ALLISON Baden-Clay went to see a family counsellor about her husband’s three-year affair with a staff member, a court has been told today.

Gerard Baden-Clay, charged with the Murder of his wife Allison Baden-Clay

Gerard Baden-Clay, charged with the Murder of his wife Allison Baden-Clay

The Brookfield mum also detailed her history of depression to the counsellor, the court was told at a pre-trial hearing.

The routine hearing is to resolve legal issues ahead of the Gerard Baden-Clay’s upcoming murder trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

Allison told the counsellor her husband Gerard’s attitude to the depression was that he was “over it” and that it had contributed to the affair, the court was told.

The court heard the counsellor later had a separate session with Gerard where he said he wanted to leave the affair in the past but reluctantly agreed to 15-minute discussions with his wife every second night.

Baden-Clay reported his wife missing on April 20, 2012. He has been charged with her murder and is due to face trial in June.

Relationships Australia counsellor Carmel Ritchie told the court the first session with Allison was at Spring Hill on March 27, 2012, and lasted about an hour.

Allison described herself as a mother of three who worked with her husband’s real estate agency four days a week, Ms Ritchie told the court.

She told the counsellor that after taking malaria medication on her honeymoon she had a “very severe reaction” and suffered chronic depression and “psychotic episodes”.

She had seen a psychologist during her second pregnancy and had been on and off medication ever since.

Allison said her husband had an affair for three years and at least partly blamed her depression, Ms Richie said.

Asked to describe her problems in a few words she told the counsellor: “Inadequate. Not good enough. Believe I let it happen. Gerard’s way is the right way. Gerard had an affair for the last three years. Parenting, Gerard criticises me. Fear that one day he will leave me”.

Allison told the counsellor she wanted to “work on me” and sort out issues with parenting, the court was told.

Allison found out about Gerard’s affair on September 14, 2011, Ms Ritchie said.

The affair started on August 27, 2008, four days after Gerard and Allison’s own anniversary, the counsellor said.

Ms Ritchie said Allison told her: “I confronted him. He is now honest and takes responsibility. He blames me for some of it, the depression.”

Allison said that two years ago on their anniversary she surprised Gerard by asking: “What’s wrong with us?”

She told the counsellor Gerard replied: “I’ve had enough. I want to leave.”

Allison said she put it down to a midlife crisis.

Allison said Gerard’s personality was “ambitious and leader like” and he had high expectations of her and the children, Ms Richie told the court.

She told the counsellor her father felt as though “he was controlling her”, the court was told.

In her case notes, the counsellor wrote her opinion that Allison was a “conflict avoider who has said yes too many times in the relationship”.

To Gerard, Allison was not the girl he married, while Gerard had changed to a “look after myself” attitude, the court was told.

Ms Ritchie said she told Allison at the end of the session she could bring Gerard to the next session if she wanted.

Allison said she did not believe Gerard would want to come.

However at the next appointment on April 16, 2012, both Allison and Gerard were in the waiting room.

Ms Ritchie told the court she took Gerard into her room on his own at first. She said she had planned to spend half the hour-long session with him and then see them both together, but the session with Gerard went for most of the hour.

“I was surprised to see Gerard there as well. That was because Allison thought he would not come,” Ms Ritchie told the court.

The session, at Kenmore, was four days before Baden-Clay reported his wife missing.

Ms Ritchie said she took a standard 60-second snapshot with Gerard, but he didn’t say much about himself personally, talking instead about his work and achievements.

The court heard that after further questions Gerard told the counsellor: “Allison does not trust me. She questions me. She says yes when she means no.”

He told the counsellor of Allison’s disappointment with her life and that he used to blame his wife for disappointments in his own life, the court was told.

He said he attended the session because Allison wanted him to.

He wanted to “build a future” with his wife and to leave the affair behind him and thought discussing the affair with Allison was a regression, Ms Ritchie told the court.

“He wants to get on with life. Wipe it clean,” the counsellor said she wrote in her notes from the session.

“He needs to accept seven or eight months is very early days yet and to ‘steel’ himself for the long haul.”

Ms Ritchie told the court she advised Baden-Clay he could not ignore his wife’s feelings about the affair.

“I spoke about the fact he did have to sit and listen to Allison’s feelings about the affair.

“I told him that he can’t put this in the past because for Allison that past is very much in the present.”

Gerard did not want to take the advice.

“Isn’t that regression? Isn’t that living in the past?” he asked.

They went back and forth until “eventually he agreed”.

Ms Ritchie said she told Gerard to listen to Allison for 10 to 15 minutes every second night. She said she “always” limited such talks because they were “highly emotional”.

Gerard’s role was to “simply listen … absolutely not be defensive” and at the end to express remorse if that was how he felt.

Ms Ritchie told the court she went outside to get Allison from the waiting room and apologised for taking so long with her husband.

“Her face broke into a smile and she said ‘I’m over the moon you have spent this time with him’.”

Ms Ritchie said when she was back in the room with both Baden-Clay and his wife she went over the plan for the 10 to 15-minute talks, which were to continue until the next session in a week or two.

“I saw her say to Gerard ‘I am over the moon that you have spent this time’. But it was a defensive, hurt way that she was saying it.”

Asked in court about Allison’s mood, she said: “I think she was very pleased to introduce me to Gerard. She was smiling.”

Ms Ritchie added that Gerard discussed his roles in the school P&C and the local chamber of commerce.

“For Gerard, his image in the community is very important…He believes he is a valuable member of society,” the counsellor said she wrote in her notes.

The next session was never booked, with Baden-Clay reporting his wife missing on the Friday of that week.

Barrister Michael Byrne QC, for Baden-Clay, put to the witness that Allison’s depression and early panic attacks went back to taking the malaria medication during her honeymoon and to her pregnancy with the couple’s first child, who was born in 2001.

Mr Byrne said between Allison’s discovery of the affair and the first session with the counsellor Baden-Clay had “reached the point where he was honest and was taking responsibility”.

“His attitude to the affair is to wipe it clean and get on with life. What she’s saying to you there was put the past behind them put the affair out of life and move on as a couple,” Mr Byrne said.

Ms Ritchie agreed Allison wanted to move on as a couple.

03/02/14 Not much to report from today’s hearing, day 1 of 2

ACCUSED wife murderer Gerard Baden-Clay returned to court in Brisbane on Monday for legal argument ahead of his upcoming trial.

Scratches on the accused, Gerard Baden-Clay.

Scratches on the accused, Gerard Baden-Clay.

The routine hearing to determine which evidence can be put before a jury is scheduled to run for two days in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

Dressed in a dark suit and wearing a tie, the 43-year-old former real estate agent watched proceedings from the dock.

The court heard from the pathologist who carried out Allison Baden-Clay’s post-mortem examination.

Legal argument centred on the admissibility of parts of his evidence, and that of medical experts who assessed scratches and other marks found on Baden-Clay following his wife’s disappearance.

The couple’s former family counsellor is expected to give evidence in court for the first time when the hearing resumes on Tuesday.

Mrs Baden-Clay, 43, was reported missing by her husband on April 20, 2012.

Her body was found 10 days later on the banks of a creek in Brisbane’s west.

The last court related update is as follows from back in December 2013.

The many GBC posts can be found here or here http://aussiecriminals.com.au/tag/gerard-baden-clay/

A family counsellor can be called to give evidence at the murder trial of Brisbane man Gerard Baden-Clay, a judge has ruled.

The Relationships Australia counsellor had argued her conversations with Baden-Clay, 43, and his slain wife Allison, were confidential.

However, Supreme Court judge James Douglas on Thursday ruled counsellor Carmel Ritchie will be required to give evidence at a pre-trial hearing next year.

The ruling means the crown can call Ms Ritchie as a witness during the trial, which has been set down for June next year.

The counsellor spoke with Mrs Baden-Clay on March 27, 2012, and with Baden-Clay and his wife separately on April 16, 2012.

Baden-Clay sat in the dock during Thursday’s brief hearing.

Mrs Baden-Clay was reported missing on April 20 last year, and her body was found on the banks of a creek in Brisbane’s west 10 days later.

Baden-Clay was arrested in June 2012 and charged with murder.

He maintains he is innocent.

In an earlier court hearing, Relationships Australia’s barrister George Kalimnios had argued the Family Law Act prohibited Ms Ritchie giving evidence, and could claim privilege on the grounds of public interest.

But in his written judgement on Thursday, Justice Douglas said both arguments were misconceived, and there were no grounds to claim privilege.

“Even if such a privilege existed separate from the Act, the balance is decisively in favour of permitting access to the evidence for the purposes of Mr Baden-Clay’s trial on the charge of murder.”

Matters before the Court 3rd Feb 2014

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