Crackdown on pedophiles

THE Queensland government wants to beef up laws dealing with convicted pedophiles once they are released into the community.

Premier Anna Bligh today said the government was seeking legal advice about possible new laws, including how to keep pedophiles in jail indefinitely, as it investigates claims a notorious offender breached his supervision orders by talking to children.

Brisbane mother-of-two Tania Massey yesterday alleged Mark Anthony Foy, 45, twice spoke to her children, aged 12 and 14, outside her workplace in Wacol, south of Brisbane, a month ago.

Foy was released into the community in late 2004 after more than four years in jail for offences against nine children aged between six and 12.

He was returned to jail in March this year for breaching his supervision order, after pleading guilty to selling morphine to an undercover police officer before spitting in his face.

Foy was released for that offence in July.

Ms Bligh said Corrective Services Minister Judy Spence yesterday discussed with cabinet how the government could be given more powers when dealing with pedophiles.

Ms Bligh said the government was now investigating how it could keep pedophiles who are at risk of re-offending from being released from jail, toughen court-imposed conditions of their release, and tighten restrictions on where they are allowed to live.

“We are looking at a range of options to toughen up this legislation,” the premier told reporters today.

“The question of whether or not those conditions can be made retrospective is also a matter that will require some further advice.”

Ms Bligh refused to say where the government wanted to accommodate offenders like Foy, but said it could include rural and industrial areas.

“We need to make sure that we get laws that are tough enough to manage these people in the community … but also laws that will withstand legal challenges,” she said.

“These people are often very, very litigious.”

Ms Bligh said the laws would be introduced “in the very near future”, but said it was a complex issue.

“This is an evolving area of law,” she said.

“Just four years ago people in this category would have just been let loose at the prison gate, and we would’ve seen them unsupervised and unmonitored in the community.”

Parliament comes to a close next week and resumes in February.

Ms Bligh also urged members of the public who may have information about Foy breaching his supervision orders to contact police.

Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney accused Ms Bligh of a backflip, criticising the government’s new stance as “purely a reactionary policy change”.

“The state Labor government has been dragged kicking and screaming to the point where they have finally acknowledged their policies are not working,” Mr Seeney said.

Published in: on November 6, 2007 at 5:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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