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.

 

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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”.

 

 

 

Vic pedophile Brett Chatterton prison term lengthened


Gee a turn up for the books, a sexual predator gets his sentence increased for once on appeal…

THE three-month jail term given to a Victorian man who sexually abused teenage boys has been lengthened to four years after a higher court found the sentence to be extraordinarily lenient.

Brett Chatterton, 37, in November was sentenced to three months in jail for visiting internet chat rooms to set up meetings with teenagers, where he paid them for sex acts throughout 2012.

He pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to send indecent communications to a child, five counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16, using a carriage service to procure a child aged under 16, and possessing child porn.

He was also ordered to serve 11 months of a previous sentence for possessing and transmitting child pornography.

In sentencing Chatterton, Victorian County Court Judge Liz Gaynor was critical of the period he had to wait before undergoing a treatment program for sex offenders.

But the Court of Appeal on Tuesday upheld an appeal from the Director of Public Prosecutions, who argued Chatterton’s sentence was well short of the length required.

Justices Simon Whelan, Phillip Priest and Mark Weinberg said Chatterton had been treated with “extraordinarily leniency” because of a failure by Corrections Victoria to put him on the program.

“It is difficult to see how sentences as low as three months for any of these offences can be justified,” the judges said.

“Dissatisfaction with the past failure of the corrections authorities to provide suitable treatment cannot come close to justifying the imposition of sentences that are themselves manifestly inadequate.”

Chatterton, of Melton, was resentenced to four years’ prison, with a non-parole period of two and a half years.

Aussie Paedophiles back up and running


Hi folks my other site to highlight sex offenders had been offline for some time unbeknown to me as I was off the internet. I discovered yesterday it was flagged by wordpress robots for spam. UPDATE  I worded that wrongly here, and in another spot somewhere I cannot find. I was meaning unknown why it was down, not that it WAS DOWN. Some people here got upset, because they had told me it was down,Im not denying that. sorry about that!, Robbo)I wrote to them and they have unlocked the site. Needs updating but here is the link (also in menu at top)
http://aussiepaedophiles.wordpress.com/  now called http://aussiesexoffenders.wordpress.com/ to encompass all sex offenders

see correspondence below.If you have any troubles follow instructions as advised below!

Name: Robbo
Email: aussiecriminals@gmail.com
Website: http://aussiepaedophiles.wordpress.com
Comment: Hi I have been away but my members wrote to me saying the above site had been blocked/removed.

It is/was a site to highlight convicted pedophiles here in Australia as a service to the community.Many people have contacted me wanting to know why the site that warned others about the criminals who had abused them or their children had disappeared. They think I removed it, which is  NOT the case

WE put a lot of work into it.If there is a problem that can be rectified please I implore you to look into it and let me know how I can get it back live again please

Hi there,

Thank you for getting in touch. Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls. We have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice.

Please be sure to clear your browser's cache and, if necessary, restart the browser.
http://en.support.wordpress.com/browser-issues/#clear-your-cache-and-cookies

We greatly apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.
Cat | Community Guardian | WordPress.com

 

High-profile sex offender Dennis Ferguson spotted selling RSPCA biscuits in Sydney CBD


This creepy dirty sleazy slime ball has been caught out yet again. Shifty, sneaking and very very cunning.

He was NOT Fund Raising. He was FUN RAISING for himself. Sitting there checking out all the kids going by who get up close and personal when their unsuspecting parents come forward to support a well respected charity, the RSPCA.

Where are the checks on the snake belly’s we call paedophiles?  He uses his middle name instead of his first and he slips through the cracks???

I was flabbergasted to read this in the paper. let me assure you, they are out there doing this, he got busted by journo’s recognising his well known disgusting face. Imagine all the other slime-balls out there creeping and slithering around our community FUN RAISING for themselves!

Also, on a side note, check out his digs, not a bad apartment building for a career pervert who does not work. Guess who would be paying for his bachelor pad folks?

A timely reminder of my other site here http://aussiepaedophiles.wordpress.com/

THE grey-haired man named Ray held up a tin of kangaroo-shaped biscuits, trying to raise cash for the RSPCA.

Paedophile Dennis Ferguson was spotted selling biscuits and other items fund-raising for the RSPCA in Sydney

But this was no ordinary charity seller. It was Australia‘s high-profile sex offender Dennis Ferguson.

The Daily Telegraph yesterday spotted the 64-year-old convicted paedophile selling merchandise to the public at Circular Quay under the name Ray Ferguson.

His stall offered various animal-shaped shortbread biscuits, pens, stickers and badges for the RSPCA.

Passers-by would not have suspected anything untoward about the older man trying to make a dollar for charity.

But when approached yesterday, he confirmed he was Dennis Ferguson, using his middle name for charity work.

Ferguson was jailed for 14 years for sexually assaulting three children aged six, seven and eight in a Brisbane motel in the late 1980s.

Soon after release, he was caught wandering through a primary school in Parramatta – against his parole conditions – and sent back to jail.

“What’s the big deal? So I made a boo boo in the past, that’s over,” Ferguson said yesterday.

The RSPCA last night said it had no idea the man named Ray who signed up as a fundraiser for the “family-focused brand” was a child sex offender, and it would seek to revoke his volunteer permit.

“The RSPCA is associated with puppies and kittens which appeal to children, and our brand is family-focused,” a spokeswoman said.

“We would not want people thinking they can’t trust our volunteers.”

It is not the first time Ferguson has signed up for charity work under an alias since his release.

In 2010, he was found selling children’s toys in Kings Cross on behalf of Diabetes Australia, without proper authority.

As a result, police obtained an order requiring Ferguson to notify the Child Protection Authority before engaging in charity work that would put him in contact with children.

Ferguson refused to say yesterday whether he had notified police about his charity work. “They know about me, that’s all I will say,” he said.

Police said details of people on the Child Protection Register could not be made public.

Dennis Ferguson

Dennis Ferguson

Born Dennis Raymond Ferguson
5 February 1948 (age 64)
Charge(s) Kidnapping, sodomy, gross indecency, indecent dealing and carnal knowledge
Conviction(s) Child sexual abuse
Penalty 14 years (1989–2003)
15 months (2003–2004)
Status Released

Dennis Raymond Ferguson (born 5 February 1948) is an Australian man convicted of child sexual abuse. In 1988, he kidnapped and sexually abused three children, and was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment. Ferguson was forced on numerous occasions to relocate his residence from various locations around Australia, due to public hostility and news media attention

Criminal history

According to court records, Dennis Ferguson’s pre-1987 criminal history contains “many convictions for false pretences, various assaults on children and indecent assaults on females”, including five convictions for child molestation.In 1987 Ferguson was imprisoned in Long Bay Jail after being convicted on multiple fraud charges.

After being released from Long Bay Jail in July 1987, Ferguson, then aged 40, and his 23-year-old male lover, Alexandria George Brookes, abducted three children, two boys and a girl, from Sydney. Ferguson had previously got to know the children’s father, who was a fellow inmate in Long Bay Jail, and Ferguson was told that the children had previously been sexually abused. Ferguson and Brookes flew the children to Brisbane, and sexually assaulted them in a house in the Brisbane suburb of Kedron. The following night, Ferguson and Brookes moved the three children to a motel in the suburb of Ascot, where they again abused the children. Police arrested Ferguson and Brookes at the motel, where they found Ferguson naked with the children. Ferguson told police, “I can help you. Pornography. Kiddy porn, I can get you kiddy porn.”Ferguson claimed he was innocent, accusing one of the boys he molested of committing the crimes, but a jury found him guilty of all counts of abduction and assault of the three children. He was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment, by a judge who noted there was no chance he would be rehabilitated

While in jail he refused to take part in rehabilitation programs, and attempted to obtain police photographs of his victims under the Freedom of Information Act. An order was obtained requiring Ferguson to report his whereabouts to police after fellow inmates reported plans by him to molest the eight-year old daughter of the family with whom he would reside after being released

In 2003, New South Wales Police surveillance located Ferguson in Parramatta Public School. Ferguson was forbidden from entering schools, and claimed he was distributing cleaning products for groups needing to raise funds. A court convicted him under the NSW Child Protection Offenders Registration Act, and he was sentenced to a further 15 months’ prison in the John Morony Correctional Centre. He was released in December 2004.

The following year, in November 2005, Ferguson was charged with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl at her home in the Queensland town of Dalby. In a rare legal move, the judge granted Ferguson a bench trial (without a jury), as he considered Ferguson would not receive a fair trial by jury, due to the enormous amount of media coverage. The judge found that while the girl had been molested while Ferguson and fellow convicted child sexual abuser Allan Guy had been at her house, it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ferguson had been responsible, rather than Guyand that he should be released. The girl had clearly identified ‘Dennis’ as the perpetrator of her abuse.

Relocation

After being released from jail in 2004, Ferguson was forced to move from numerous locations in Queensland, due to public pressure and media attentionAngry residents forced him to flee the towns of Bundaberg, Toowoomba and Murgon. In February 2005, he settled in Ipswich with another pedophile, but was again found by neighbours and the media. There were reports of rocks being thrown at his house. A judge awarded Ferguson $2,250 in compensation from an invalid Ipswich pensioner who pleaded guilty to threatening to kill himOther protests have been more peaceable.

In July 2008, he moved to a rural property near Miles, Queensland, but after word of his location spread, cars began to arrive at the property, and the police were called after 60 people began chanting anti-Ferguson slogans.

In 2009, he moved into a public housing apartment in the Sydney suburb of Ryde where he was given a five-year lease. Some residents of the area were outraged at Ferguson’s presence, after news organisations revealed where he was living- near a primary school and playgrounds.Angry males shouted on the street, and police found a Molotov cocktail near Ferguson’s apartment building; Ferguson claims that one man broke into his house and assaulted him ]By 2010, neighbours had forced him to leave Ryde

New South Wales Police attempted to obtain a court order banning Ferguson from public pools and parks,after he began frequenting a pool during primary school children’s swimming lessons.While the safety order was denied by a judge, they did succeed in obtaining an order requiring him to notify the child protection authority before engaging in charity activities that would put him in contact with children, a precaution that was prompted after he was spotted selling children’s toys for a charity for which he had registered using his middle name, Ray.[19][21] Ferguson had been selling them without a legally mandated permit and police approval.

A program set up by the government agency Centrelink to reunite missing persons was suspended indefinitely in September 2009, after it was discovered that Ferguson had accessed the service to reunite with his 1987 criminal accomplice, Alexandria George Brookes.

Legislative changes

In September 2009, in response to public anger at Ferguson living in the Ryde area, the Government of New South Wales under Premier Nathan Rees moved to introduce legislation to allow the government to evict child sex offenders from public housing. Critics dubbed the legislation the Dennis Ferguson Act, and said it was created as a result of the state government caving in to vigilantism.

Time to ‘let Ferguson live in peace’

Posted Sat Mar 7, 2009 1:32pm AEDT

Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson says convicted paedophile Dennis Ferguson will be monitored daily after he was acquitted of a child-sex charge in Brisbane yesterday.

In a judge-only trial, the 61-year-old was found not guilty of molesting a five-year-old girl in her western Darling Downs home in 2005.

Commissioner Atkinson says it is time to let Mr Ferguson live in peace.

“He has to live somewhere that people would trust us to monitor him to keep a close watching brief on him,” he said.

“We will do that on a daily basis … hopefully people will just allow things to move forward now and not be concerned.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/03/06/2509851.htm

Ferguson acquittal sparks calls for paedophile separation

Posted Fri Mar 6, 2009 7:38pm AEDT
Updated Fri Mar 6, 2009 8:04pm AEDT

A child safety group wants the Queensland Government to keep known paedophiles away from each other, after today’s acquittal of Dennis Ferguson on a child sex charge.

The 61-year-old convicted paedophile had been accused of molesting a five-year-old girl in her Dalby home in 2005.

Mr Ferguson had gone to the property with fellow convicted paedophile Allan Guy.

He faced a judge-only trial in Brisbane after a court ruled it would be difficult to find an impartial jury.

In handing down her verdict, chief judge Patsy Wolfe said while the Crown had failed to prove Mr Ferguson was the perpetrator, the evidence suggested the girl was molested and Guy was responsible.

Mr Ferguson broke down in the dock and buried his head in his arms.

Outside the court, Carol Ronken from the child safety group Bravehearts said known paedophiles like Mr Ferguson and Guy should be stopped from banding together.

“We’re really concerned that he’s been able to liaise and hang around other sex offenders,” she said.

She also called on police to pursue Mr Guy.

Meanwhile, Queensland police have warned people not to harass Mr Ferguson, who has been run out of three Queensland communities in the past.

Deputy police commissioner Kathy Rynders says officers will monitor Mr Ferguson daily but it is unclear how long the surveillance will last.

She says Mr Ferguson will have to tell police his address.

His lawyer, Terry Fisher, says Mr Ferguson now wants to be left alone.

“It is my client’s hope that the conclusion of this trial will afford him the opportunity to live without constant media harassment and public intrusion,” he said.

‘Children need protection’

Police officer Heather Steinberg, who is running as an independent candidate in the Brisbane seat of Redlands, says the public should be concerned about today’s acquittal.

She says the Police Minister must ensure the community is safe.

“The children out there need to be protected,” she said.

“[Police Minister] Judy Spence said to us as a community we need to teach our children how to protect themselves from this type of situation.

“What’s the Government done about it? Absolutely nothing.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/03/06/2509206.htm

Ferguson not guilty on child abuse charge

By Jason Rawlins

Posted Fri Mar 6, 2009 11:14am AEDT
Updated Fri Mar 6, 2009 1:39pm AEDT

Notorious Queensland paedophile Dennis Ferguson broke down in the dock after being found not guilty of molesting a child.

At a judge-only trial, Mr Ferguson was accused of going to a five-year-old girl’s home on the western Darling Downs in south-east Queensland in 2005 and molesting her.

He had been at the Dalby home to talk to the girl’s mother about a sales business and was with another convicted paedophile Allan Guy and his wife.

Brisbane’s District Court Chief Judge Patsy Wolfe handed down her verdict at around 10am AEST.

Judge Wolfe said the evidence pointed to the girl having been molested but she said the Crown had failed to prove the identity of the person responsible.

She also said the girl’s description of where the offence took place and who was involved pointed to Guy being the perpetrator.

Mr Ferguson broke down in the dock and buried his head in his arms.

His lawyer Terry Fisher says Mr Ferguson now wants to be left alone.

“It is my client’s hope that the conclusion of this trial will afford him the opportunity to live without constant media harassment and public intrusion,” he said.

The verdict has prompted calls for the real offender to be pursued.

Outside Brisbane’s District Court, child advocacy group Bravehearts spokeswoman Carol Ronken called on police to pursue Guy.

“There should be an investigation into Allan Guy – whether or not he is a party to that,” she said.

Ms Ronken also wants the Queensland Government to prevent Mr Ferguson associating with other paedophiles.

Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser says police will continue to monitor Ferguson but he will not be accommodated at taxpayers’ expense.

“As I understand the matter, now that he’s been found not guilty by the judge, Mr Ferguson is no longer in the custody of the state,” he said.

“I understand from police that they will be monitoring his movements and they’re able to provide further comment on that.

“I don’t propose to comment on the operational matters of police.”

http://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2009/QDC09-049.pdf

 

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/qld/QDC/2008/224.html

Queensland District Court Decisions

Ferguson v. Watterson [2008] QDC 224 (19 September 2008)

Last Updated: 23 September 2008

DISTRICT COURT OF QUEENSLAND

 

CITATION: Ferguson v Watterson [2008] QDC 224
PARTIES: DENNIS RAYMOND FERGUSON

(applicant)

v

NOEL BOYD WATTERSON

(respondent)

FILE NO/S: 40 of 2008
DIVISION: Civil
PROCEEDING: Application for criminal compensation
ORIGINATING COURT: District Court Ipswich
DELIVERED ON: 19 September 2008
DELIVERED AT: Ipswich
HEARING DATE: 2 September 2008
JUDGE: Richards DCJ
ORDER: The respondent is ordered to pay the applicant the sum of $2,250 by way of compensation
CATCHWORDS: Criminal compensation – where other factors have contributed in a significant way to an injury
COUNSEL: Mr P E Smith for applicant

Mr P Boustead for Crown Law

No appearance for the respondent

SOLICITORS: Fisher Dore for the applicant

No appearance for the respondent

[1] The applicant is a sixty year old man who has previously been convicted of sexual offences against young children. He was released from prison in New South Wales on 15 December 2004 and returned to Queensland in December 2004 initially living in the Brisbane area with friends. From December 2004 to January 2005 he moved to Ipswich and was living with a friend in temporary accommodation.
[2] During the days leading up to this offence he and his friends had been subjected to an extreme amount of harassment from the media who had in turn engendered public support to hound the applicant out of town. On 1 February 2005 he was helping friends move to rental accommodation in Murgon. He was the subject of further abuse on that day in Murgon and was told by the police he would be safer if he left and he returned to Ipswich. When they arrived back at Ipswich there were members of the media and a crowd of people outside the premises waiting for them. The applicant could not see what was going on as he was under a blanket in the rear of the vehicle but he was told that Mr Watterson was in the crowd and that Watterson did not like him.
[3] Because of the hostility of the crowd outside the house they drove immediately to the Yamanto Police Station. When they arrived the media was there as well. His friends went into the police station while he stayed under the blanket in the car. They requested assistance from the police and then they went back to the Ipswich address driving around to the back of the premises. The media and the respondent were still there. The car was stopped and as he lay under the blanket he heard many people yelling things like, “Get out you filthy kid fucker”, “You’re dead”, “We don’t want you here.” He became scared that if he got out of the car people would hurt him. He heard the back door of the car being opened by the applicant and he heard the applicant and others yell at him, “Get out of here!”.
[4] Things quietened down a bit and he eventually left the car and entered the house. As he went to the house he heard more abuse and people yelling that he was dead and that they would get him. The respondent was one of those who yelled at him saying, “No sleep tonight Mr Ferguson, the black fellas in Murgon never got you but I will”. He was scared that people would break in and injure him and that the media were inciting the crowd.
[5] When the police arrived the yelling and the rock throwing stopped. He remained in the house all night and throughout the next day he was worried that Watterson would break in and injure him or burn the house down. He was especially concerned once he saw television footage of Watterson threatening him and trying to get him out of the car. He was taken away from the house the next day.
[6] On 19 October 2005 the respondent pleaded guilty to one charge of making threats, contrary to
s 359 of the Criminal Code.
[7] Mr Ferguson applies for compensation under the
Criminal Offence Victims Act 1995. The Act came into force in December 1995 and was established to provide compensation for an applicant’s injury consequent upon a personal offence committed against the applicant[1]. The scheme was introduced to ensure compensation for all victims of crime. It does not provide that compensation be awarded only to victims who are good citizens. The explanatory notes of the Act when introduced into parliament in Bill form provides insight into the purposes of the criminal compensation scheme:

 

“The principle reforms are:

(b) court applications will be dealt with informally;

(c) amounts will be assessed according to a “compensation table” with the objective of simplifying the process and reducing the inconsistencies in the awards made.

 

The system for compensation is intended to provide some measure of compensation in a summary way to the victim of a crime without the delay, cost and formality of a civil action for damages, for example, for assault or trespass.”

[8] It would be a very rare case that a victim of crime would be denied compensation altogether. In Hohn v King [2004] QCA 254 the court discussed this proposition at paragraph 100:

 

“The behaviour of the victim of the crime is relevant and is one of the matters to be taken into account. However, the legislation is not in terms limited to “good citizens who are the innocent victims of criminal behaviour”. Crime, its causes and incidents, is more complex than such an attitude would suggest. Demographically, the group responsible for the majority of assaults, young people, particularly young males aged 15 to 24, is the same group most likely to be victims of assault. As s 25(7) recognises, criminal offending does not only occur in a world neatly divided between the innocent and guilty, the good and the bad, but one which contains many shades of grey. Compensation awarded to victims of crime does not depend on a simplistic approach but takes into account all the relevant factors including any behaviour of the applicant which contributed, whether directly or indirectly, to the injury.”

 

[9] The first question in this case is whether the offence of making threats under the Criminal Code is a personal offence as defined in the Criminal Offence Victims Act[2] Compensation is only payable for offences committed against the person of someone. This phrase was considered in detail in RZ (by his litigation guardian) v PAE (2007) QCA 166 at paragraph 45:

 

“For an offence to be an “offence committed against a person of someone”, it is not necessary that there be actual contact with the body of the person. To return to an earlier example, the offence of robbery is frequently committed by pointing a weapon at victims and threatening them with violence in order to obtain property with no actual physical contact with the person or body of the victims. Such victims are commonly awarded compensation under the Act because the offence to which they were subjected is planning an indictable offence committed against the person of someone within s 21 of the Act. An attempted robbery involving threats alone is no less an indictable offence committed against the person of someone than a like offence involving some actual bodily contact.

 

Although the respondent’s offence against the appellant child did not involve physical contact with or a threat of physical contact with the child’s person or body, it was certainly not an offence against property. The respondent proposed that the child let the respondent “suck his dick”, an act which, had it been carried out, would unquestionably have involved the child’s person or body. It is not suggested (nor could it sensibly be) that, had the attempted offence actually been committed, it would not have been “an offence committed against the person” of the child. The respondent desisted before committing the principle offence and in committing the offence of attempted indecent treatment of a child did not make physical contact with the child but the thirteen year old heard the forty six year old respondent’s graphic proposal to procure the child to commit the indecent act permitting the respondent to suck the child’s penis; the child apprehended the proposal knowing something of the respondent’s criminal history for like offences and offences of serious violence; the child understandably became upset. In these circumstances the respondent’s attempt to unlawfully procure the applicant child to commit an indecent act was offence against the child’s personal body and “an offence committed against the person” of the appellant child under s 21 of the Act.”

[10] That interpretation of those words is consistent with the remedial nature of the Act:

 

“To provide compensation to injured victims of crime against the victim’s person.”

[11] Whilst taking into account the actual language of and the meaning open on the words of s 21, they should not be construed narrowly if that would prevent the discharge of the legislative purpose of the Act; Khoury v Government Insurance Officer (NSW) [1984] 165 CLR 622 at 638. The words of that section make it very clear that this offence is an offence against the person of someone and in fact Mr Boustead for the Crown has not challenged that interpretation of the Act. It is clear that the act of threatening to kill Mr Watterson was a threat to be taken seriously and one that would constitute an assault by threat.

[12] He is therefore entitled to compensation under the Act. It is clear from the facts of the matter that he did not contribute to the offence. He did not commit any act on that day to incite the crowd to violence or threats. He remained hidden from the sight of the crowd during the day and the only incitement to the crowd was the fact that he had previously committed offences and been released from custody at the completion of his term of imprisonment. At the time of the offence he was simply endeavouring to move into a house as an invited guest.
[13] The applicant in his affidavit says that he was especially scared of the respondent breaking in because he had seen him on the television and he thought he was the ring leader in all the threats and rock throwing in the house over the two day period that this harassment took place.
[14] The applicant was interviewed by Dr Michael Beech, a psychiatrist on 30 May 2008. Dr Beech has provided a report in relation to this application. Dr Beech notes that in January 2005 the applicant was the first person placed on the Child Protection Offender Register and from that stage he began to experience harassment from the media. He was unable to keep his appointments with Dr Rosevear, his psychiatrist, as the media would stake out the doctor’s room. He was also unable to associate with friends so his support network was curtailed. At that stage he had physical symptoms including feeling generally nervous, headaches, dizziness and palpitations. He would suffer blackouts and his memory would lapse. He had been to Murgon to help his friend move from Ipswich and while he was there a reporter and cameraman came to the house. He chased them away and then the reporter called the police. The police arrived as did neighbours who in effect forced the police into removing him and he was taken back to his Ipswich address where there were media and a crowd outside.
[15] Dr Beech refers to his symptoms as follows:

 

“His physical health remained compromised. He said that his sleep was disturbed by initial insomnia and was broken throughout the night. He had distressing dreams of being accosted and attacked in public. His eating was disturbed and his weight fluctuated. He became fearful of going out in public. He said he was very wary when out of the house. He would only travel to Brisbane during broad daylight for arranged visits. He would go directly to the visit and return straightaway to Miles. When he visited Brisbane, he would change the place where he was due to stay overnight on short notice to avoid detection. He would stay at places where he knew there was good security. This went on for sometime.”

 

[16] The history of Mr Ferguson’s harassment is complicated. On multiple occasions during previous incarcerations he has been attacked by prisoners. Some have been convicted of grievous bodily harm and there have seven incidents of serious assault. He has been knocked out and badly beaten during the attacks. He still has continuing intrusive memories of some of these attacks and they make him anxious. As a result in prison he is anxious and easily startled. He now fears that he will also be attacked in the community as well as in the prison.
[17] There are also events from his childhood which he would not discuss with Mr Beech but they are apparently unsettling memories. Dr Beech saw a report from Dr Rosevear which has not been put before this court but it indicated that he has counselled the applicant on many occasions.
[18] In 2003 a report indicated that he showed signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder consistent with the fact that he had been repeatedly bashed and attempts were made on his life in prison. There was also history of child abuse which had not been resolved. In a further report in 2005, Dr Rosevear stated he continued to see Mr Ferguson in relation to his stress. He had phoned him on many occasions because he could not attend due to fear of public harassment. He had considered suicide and he believed that Mr Ferguson displayed evidence of chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
[19] Dr Beech opines that his chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would likely have arisen from earlier events including prison assaults. He describes anxiety prior to the 2005 incident, avoidance and thoughts of persecution and in 2003 was noted to be nervous, hyper-vigilant and had difficulty concentrating. He said there is also a history of abuse noted by Dr Rosevear and intrusive memories that are highly suggestive of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that goes back to childhood. He had past episodes of depressed mood with features consistent with either a major depressive episode or an adjustment disorder. He says:

 

“In my opinion, the incident in 2005 is likely to have added to burden of morbidity that Mr Ferguson had already suffered up until that time. The incident was one of many traumatic and frightening events that had occurred in his life. It happened when he was already anxious about previous bashings and feared a conspiracy to harm and prevent his allegations of negligence proceeding. He already feared for his safety. It is likely I believe that his anxiety had been further aroused by the events in Sydney and heightened by the events in Murgon. He had by the time he arrived back in Ipswich become fearful of public harassment.

 

These pre-existing circumstances I believe made him vulnerable to further anxiety and distress when he was threatened in Ipswich. They were further aggravated by his poor eyesight, being covered by a blanket, being accosted by a crowd, and being trapped in a car. To this sense of helplessness was added his belief that the crowd was being incited and that there was no help at hand…

 

I believe however that it has added to his PTSD and exacerbated and expanded it. He described continuing anxiety and recollections of the event. It has now made him more anxious about being in the community generally, more so than before. Prior to his return to custody, his avoidance was increased. It is likely to worsen again if he is released into the community.”

[20] He was unable to quantify the damage done by the 2005 events. More particularly he is unable to quantify the damage done by Watterson.
[21] It is said that the events of 2005 led to the exacerbation of his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, the harassment was occurring on an almost daily basis and not just at the Ipswich address. Even on the day in question the harassment was produced not only by this respondent but by others present including the media. The resultant mental and nervous shock cannot all be placed on the shoulders of this respondent.
[22] In Say & AZ; Ex parte AG 2006 QCA 462, Holmes JA discussed the difficulties in trying to apportion compensation where there was more than one cause. Her Honour stated there at paragraph 23:

 

“Where there is a single state of injury produced by a number of factors, some or all of which warranted a reduction in the award, the court must do its best to make allowance for their contribution although the evidence may not lend itself to any precision. Often a broad brush approach, or the kind adopted by Thomas JA in Sanderson v Kajewski will be necessary. The exercise may be one of discounting, or fixing another percentage on the compensation scale to allow for the role of other factors, rather than necessarily a strict process of apportionment. In that exercise, it is legitimate to consider the nature of the other contributing factors. Given that the Act scheme is to require an offender to compensation his or her victim, it would be reasonable to suppose that contributing causes entirely independent of the respondent will be given considerably more weight than those merely reflecting part of the continuing of offending. Whether there ought to be any discount to reflect the fact that other behaviour of the respondent has contributed to the applicant’s state of injury will depend on all the circumstances, which may include the nature of that behaviour, how closely stipulated it was to the relevant offences and the relationship of victim and offender in which it occurred. The basis on which any reduction or compensation is made must have of course been clearly identified”.

[23] Because an apportionment is impossible to do clearly in this case, a broad brush approach will have to be applied. Whilst one of a crowd, the respondent was at the forefront of the harassment, the one opening the car door and the one making death threats which were clearly audible to the applicant. Further he was later on television reinforcing the nature of those threats and his intention to carry out the threats if given a chance. He was, in effect, the public face of the harassment over the two day period and a person who lived in close proximity to the house in which Ferguson had sought refuge.
[24] Of course, there was also the stress occasioned by the harassment that occurred in Sydney and Murgon with which Mr Watterson was not at all tied.
[25] The applicant clearly suffers from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and would be entitled to an award of 30% of the scheme maximum if this were the only cause of his disorder. However, taking into account the fact that there were many other incidents of harassment and trauma caused to the applicant both before and since these events, that award would have to be discounted considerably.
[26] In my view, the award should be reduced to 3 % of the scheme maximum and I order that the respondent pay the applicant the sum of $2,250 by way of compensation.


[1] S19(1)(a)

[2] s21 of the Act