Plea to deny bail in child sex cases
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.