Plea to deny bail in child sex cases

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

A pe­ti­tion call­ing for the Kar­ratha Mag­is­trate’s Court to ban bail for peo­ple ac­cused of child sex of­fences has at­tracted nearly 1400 sig­na­tures within a few weeks.

The Change.org on­line pe­ti­tion, started by Kar­ratha res­i­dent Kylie Miller, aims to col­lect enough sig­na­tures to lobby the lo­cal court to stop grant­ing bail to al­leged child sex of­fend­ers in the in­ter­ests of pro­tect­ing chil­dren’s safety.

It at­tracted about 1000 sig­na­tures in its first week and had reached 1398 by the time of print.

“If there is enough ev­i­dence to ar­rest and charge a per­son with a child sex of­fence then they should NOT be granted bail,” the pe­ti­tion let­ter reads.

“We owe it to our chil­dren. Ev­ery child. We need to show that their pro­tec­tion and safety is the most im­por­tant thing.

“We need to show preda­tors that our com­mu­nity will not stand for abuse of our chil­dren.”

It comes as Pil­bara district po­lice con­duct an on­go­ing op­er­a­tion into child abuse and sex­ual of­fences in the re­gion.

Ms Miller said she started the pe­ti­tion af­ter hear­ing of a case in which a lo­cal man ac­cused of such of­fences was granted pro­tec­tive bail and think­ing the re­sult “didn’t sit right” with her.

She said many other res­i­dents had started to ex­press the same view when she shared the pe­ti­tion on Kar­ratha so­cial me­dia pages.

“Now it’s a mat­ter of where do we go from here? How do we make sure our voices are heard?” she said.

“It’s not just about the num­bers, it’s about mak­ing this is­sue be heard to that mag­is­trate, to all of our mag­is­trates, that we don’t want peo­ple fac­ing these se­ri­ous charges in our com­mu­nity and these are the rea­sons we don’t want them.”

Ms Miller claimed pro­tec­tive bail con­di­tions, such as the ac­cused stay­ing a cer­tain dis­tance away from al­leged vic­tims and re­port­ing daily to lo­cal po­lice, did not pro­tect chil­dren suf­fi­ciently. A De­part­ment of the Attorney-Gen­eral spokeswoman said the main con­sid­er­a­tions for mag­is­trates to grant bail were de­tailed in leg­is­la­tion.

“How­ever, se­ri­ous repeat of­fend­ers can be de­nied bail un­der the (Bail) Act, and the courts can also im­pose bail con­di­tions such as GPS track­ing and cur­fews,” she said.

She said courts could not con­sider pe­ti­tions be­cause they were out­side their role of in­ter­pret­ing laws and any pe­ti­tions should be di­rected to the State Gov­ern­ment.

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