Stu­dents learn from sex cases

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Roanne John­son

A CHILD ad­vo­cacy group has said it has no prob­lem with high school stu­dents sitting in child sex court cases.

Brave­hearts f ounder Hetty John­ston yes­ter­day came out in sup­port Hea t l e y Hi g h S c h o o l af­ter a group of stu­dents and a teacher last week ob­served the sen­tenc­ing of pae­dophile Glyn Frank Har­rod in the Townsville District Court.

‘ ‘ W e l l I g u e s s t h e stu­dents learnt that you can break the law re­peat­edly, clearly prove that you are an in­cor­ri­gi­ble dan­ger to all chil­dren, that you are a walk­ing time bomb and still not go to jail,’’ she said. ‘‘ I think it’s a re­al­ity check for the stu­dents and I can’t see any prob­lem with it.’’

Ms John­ston said she sat in on a ‘‘ par­tic­u­larly hor­ren­dous pae­dophile mat­ter’’ in Syd­ney with a group of high school stu­dents.

‘‘ I think it showed them how hor­ri­ble the world can be,’’ she said.

The Townsville Bul­letin r eport on t he s enior stu­dents, in Grade 11 and 12, has sparked a num­ber of re­sponse both for and against the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of the ex­cur­sion.

The man’s prior his­tory was read out, in­clud­ing his con­vic­tion for pos­sess­ing 400 child por- nog­ra­phy im­ages, 24 pae­dophilia lit­er­a­ture doc­u­ments, a child abuse video game and his ar­rest in the US for trav­el­ling with the in­ten­tion to en­gage in a sex­ual act with a ju­ve­nile.

Ed­u­ca­tion Queens­land r e i t e r a t e d y e s t e r d a y there had been no comp l a i n t s made b y t h e stu­dents, all aged over 16, or their par­ents.

‘ ‘ By a l l o wi n g t h e s e young adults to ob­serve part of this trial in a safe and con­trolled court­room en­vi­ron­ment, Heat­ley Sec­ondary Col­lege has not only pro­vided a solid ed­u­ca­tion in Legal Stud­ies, but also pro­moted the im­por­tance of the aware­ness of child abuse in our so­ci­ety,’’ a spokes­woman said.

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