Community “A Risk” To Paedophile? Throw The Key Away

EARLIER THIS MONTH, we looked at a sickening case of paedophilia in Ireland, and talked about the death penalty for recidivist child abusers; today Sydney’s Daily Telegraph carries an article on a paedophile for whom the community constitutes “a risk” — and I say let him rot in hell.

One way or the other.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the headline, and obviously neither could the Tele‘s resident writer, David Penberthy; given we talked about this issue less than a fortnight ago I wanted to make a few comments.

I’ll let readers access and read the Penberthy article for themselves through the first link, and our piece from 6 November through the second if desired.

But I must say very plainly that this is exactly the kind of sick individual that has no place in Australian communities: no place on the street, or in our neighbourhoods, and certainly not as an “active participant in society” in any way, shape or form.

This is no first time offender; nor does he have a “marginal” defence that might be used, say, by an 18-year-old boy whose 15-year-old girlfriend said she was 16 and later had second thoughts.

No, this is a serial repeat offender — a dangerous individual — and in my view such a creature has no place walking in the midst of our children.

If the death penalty for recidivist paedophiles is unavailable, then the least the law can do is incarcerate an animal like this for the term of his natural life.

It isn’t hard to see how some people become crusaders on issues like this; the likes of Derryn Hinch, for one, who has gone to extraordinary lengths over the years to see that sex offenders are dealt with in a fashion nearer to community expectations.

Or Bravehearts chief Hetty Johnston, for another, who has campaigned ceaselessly for many years to ensure sick bastards like this are kept off our streets.

If a “significant community backlash or media scrutiny” causes a paedophile stress, worry, discomfort or trauma then — frankly — I couldn’t care less.

Those that prey on the youngest and most helpless members of society are a menace to it, and far from pandering to the “rights” of these types of people, society should be shielded from them — permanently.


Dangerous Musings: Sex, Children, Capital Punishment

I HAVE TO BE CAREFUL what I say here; despite this relating to legal matters on the other side of the world, it concerns a case that sickens and revolts. Should convicted paedophiles — those who rape their own children, no less — be executed? And what, in such cases, is a “mitigating” factor?

First things first: this isn’t an ordinary issue in the retail political sense, although crime and punishment certainly fall within the remit of governments across the world.

And secondly, a warning: readers should keep their comments to the issue, not the actual case I am going to briefly talk about.

Have a read of this article; I saw it in my Twitter feed just as I was about to switch off for the night, and was so incensed that I simply had to put a few words together.

It seems too often the case — wherever there are stories of children, people in responsible positions of trust over them, and sex — that either penalties meted out are in the eyes of a majority of the community too lenient, or that there are “mitigating” factors.

Readers will see from the article I have provided that the brother of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams — Liam Adams — has been convicted of 10 child sex offences, including three rapes, committed against his own daughter between 1977 and 1983 when she was aged between four and nine.

Adams is currently awaiting sentence, which is why a degree of circumspection probably needs to be exercised, although I admit I replied to The Guardian‘s tweet that in my view the “son of a bitch” ought to be hanged.

Even so, the fact the article notes Adams is being held (presumably in isolation) for his own protection speaks volumes.

I’m no hillbilly rednecked bigot, and I don’t think for a moment that anyone who knows me (or has become familiar with my thoughts through this column) would suggest otherwise.

I am, however, a trenchant advocate of the reintroduction of capital punishment, in certain circumstances and for some offences, and subject to a suitably unimpeachable qualification: the proof of the offence beyond any doubt, rather than simply beyond reasonable doubt.

One such class of offence I think a capital penalty ought to apply to is serial and recidivist paedophiles; in cases where the victim is the offender’s own child, that’s an additional aggravating factor — to put it mildly.

I hear about crimes like this and some days I just wonder: who’s out of step? Me? What are the community standards — be it in Australia or elsewhere — when it comes to this sort of thing?

The bleeding hearts and chardonnay drunks all tut-tut at the merest mention of capital punishment; it’s barbaric, uncivilised, and subhuman.

Yet I note that when outrageous depravities of the nature of Adams’ offending affects them personally or those nearest them, often those same do-gooders suddenly become the most vocal of converts in the world to the concept of capital punishment.

An eye for an eye. Retributive justice. That particular story thread runs along the lines that the Courts should execute child sex offenders to stop them from taking matters into their own hands.

But even then — with that one exception excused — the moralising against capital penalties resumes from them; let others carry the anguish and abortive justice of inadequate punishments so long as they, themselves, are avenged.

Is this too harsh?

It is certainly true that across the developed world, capital punishment has, progressively, been abandoned.

Nations and states that continue the practice are routinely attacked for “human rights violations,” and pilloried.

Yet in all the years I have watched politics, world events, current affairs and the law, the outraged clamour against “soft sentencing” and similarly expressed grievances seems to be growing louder each year.

I look at the article detailing Adams’ pre-sentence hearing at the Belfast Crown Court and note his lawyer told the Court of her client’s health problems: he walks with a stick, and suffers from inflammation of the arteries and osteoarthritis.

This is being submitted as a “mitigating” factor; really, who cares? Those ailments were no impediment to him committing the crimes for which he now awaits sentencing, and they shouldn’t be an impediment to him being punished.

The abolition of capital punishment — which, in many countries, has been enacted to comply with United Nations treaties on human rights — to my mind removes a powerful deterrent to the kind of monsters who repeatedly commit unspeakable acts against children.

The likes of Martin Bryant, Julian Knight and others like them have much to be thankful for, too, in a perverted and truly obscene way.

And for those who argue that it’s no deterrent — that sick bastards would still commit the same sick crimes — I would simply say that if it doesn’t deter them, it will at least render their capacity to ever reoffend non-existent. Permanently.

For the record, I do think that for many years majority community opposition to capital punishment was probably in lockstep with the moves to abolish it.

However, in more recent times when murderers, rapists, paedophiles and others reoffend time and again — after manifestly inadequate periods of incarceration, to boot — I’d wager the pendulum has well and truly swung the other way.

There is a reason why governments — even conservative governments — do not offer referendums on the reintroduction of capital punishment: in short, such questions would be resolved in the affirmative, with the resultant need to have to abrogate whatever ghastly treaty obligation, foisted on the community by the UN, might apply.

What do people think? Are Courts — in Australia, in Ireland where Adams’ sentencing will soon occur, or elsewhere — too lenient on these types of crimes?

Should capital punishment be reintroduced?

This girl’s childhood was brutally destroyed by her own father. The crimes are truly despicable. And that man’s lawyer submits, in essence, that poor health and discomfort is a “mitigating” factor?

I will say this: it’s no wonder the chardonnay drunks join the calls for capital punishments when the vile stench of savage crime affects them — even if it is only a momentary lapse into common sense and sanity.

Royal Commission: Child Abuse Inquiry A Blast Of Good Sense

The announcement today by Prime Minister Julia Gillard of a Royal Commission into child sex abuse is a long-overdue blast of good common sense; The Red And The Blue wholeheartedly endorses its establishment, and trusts no stone will be left unturned by its eventual Commissioner.

At the time of writing, the exact specifics of the pending Royal Commission remain uncertain; as is so often the case in politics — or in issues and/or events connected to it — the situation seems very fluid and developing.

Nonetheless, this column is happy to throw the weight of its support behind the initiative — which is essentially bipartisan, as Tony Abbott has committed the Coalition to support it without qualification — as Australia makes one seriously big attempt to deal with an issue that is a social and moral pox upon the national house.

Indeed, that pox — and the culture of silence it festers and fosters — is a disgrace, and today’s announcement is a triumph and just reward for childhood advocates such as veteran Melbourne broadcaster Derryn Hinch, and Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston.

It pleases me greatly that the terms of reference for the inquiry appear to be very broad: focusing not just on the Catholic Church (although God knows that house is far from clean) but on a wide range of organisations and sectors, from “state services” to the Scouts to school sporting groups and so forth.

I hope it includes past and present parliamentarians; the judiciary; and also that it takes seriously the issue of child abuse in the home, whether by a parent, sibling, family member or friend.

In other words, absolutely no holds barred.

And it is also highly satisfactory that those who have covered up instances of child abuse or otherwise obscured the rendering of justice upon the perpetrators of sick crimes against kids will also be hauled before the Commission.

The Commission will integrate and align with various state-based inquiries, and will not impede police investigations or compensation claims. It is to be hoped, also, that a Special Prosecutor (or similar) is assigned to the Commission, giving it the power to prosecute individuals or groups found to have cases to answer arising from its business.

The only real qualifications I have on my support are that a) it isn’t simply a merry free-for-all witch hunt, in which people are baselessly accused out of malice; and that b) in cases where ambit and baseless accusations are made, Commonwealth support is available to wrongly accused persons to pay the costs associated with defamation actions against their accusers.

I think these are two eminently sensible considerations, and hardly those of a naysayer.

Ominously, though, the first words of dissent have come from surprising — and unsurprising — quarters.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was quoted from a statement to Fairfax Media as saying that there would be a case for a Royal Commission if present inquiries found ”institutional resistance” by the Catholic Church or if more resources were needed to deal with these matters.

Sorry Kevin — “institutional resistance” is the game the church has been playing on this issue for decades. Simply stated, for the Catholic Church, time is up.

The Age also quoted Professor of Law at the Australian Catholic University and prominent Jesuit priest Father Frank Brennan, who cast doubts on the Commission, saying ”It’s so broad that it risks being counterproductive,” and claiming it could take three years for the Commission to report.

I say, as doubtlessly do many, many others, that if it takes three years to do the job properly and thoroughly (and to get it right the first time), then it takes three years.

The Murdoch press in Melbourne featured a survivor of child abuse in a Catholic school, Peter Blenkiron, who hit out at claims by Catholic Cardinal George Pell that victims received justice when the church apologised to them, saying simply that no victim he knew ever felt like they got justice from the Church.

Pell, for his part, has made the welcome declaration that “We shall co-operate fully with the Royal Commission.”

Overwhelmingly, however, the response around the community has been supportive, almost ecstatic — as it rightly should be.

I was never subjected to sexual abuse as a child, although I do know people who were; quite aside from the fact I find the entire concept morally abhorrent (to the point I can almost justify kiddie molesters being subjected to a more informal smack around if the Courts won’t oblige), it is these people, along with the stories one hears of so very many others, that make it just as personal an issue for me as it is for them.

And not least because I’m a dad too — I have one little girl and another child coming soon, and if anyone touched them, it wouldn’t make it as far as Court.

I do not intend to talk through the actual political implications of today’s events, other than to reiterate my support for Gillard’s announcement and to reiterate recognition of Tony Abbott’s immediate and unqualified support for it.

Today’s announcement belongs to the victims — past and present — of the sexual abuse of children, to the families and friends who have supported them, and to the ceaseless fighters like Hinch and Johnston who have fought valiantly and for many years to see precisely this outcome.

But I will say this: to the paedophiles out there — and, unfortunately, there are a few of them around — I hope you’re all absolutely frightened shitless now.

There isn’t anywhere left to run and hide.

And that’s how it should be.