“Who’s looking after the children?”
In Australia this week one man dared to ask this question of the highest court in the land. The High Court of Australia replied,
“We’re only interested in looking after child rapists.”
As a result, this courageous crusader is likely to die in jail, while some of the world’s worst child rapists go free to re-offend, their identity protected by court suppression order.
Sounds insane, doesn’t it?
Not the sort of thing that can happen in a civilised, developed, democratic country, right?
It is, however, exactly the sort of thing that routinely happens in the secretive and abusive Catholic Church.
And the unconstitutional power of the Catholic hierarchy to dictate both state and federal government policy in Australia is why we now have such ridiculously dangerous new “child protection” laws.
The man is journalist, TV and radio personality and child sexual assault victim Derryn Hinch.
His crime was to stand on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House at a public protest rally in 2008, surrounded by thousands of supporters, and publicly name two notorious child rapists.
That’s right, in Victoria, one of Australia’s most populous states, you can be sent to jail for outing hardened criminals whose ability to prey upon defenceless children depends on blending in and seeming harmless. They are so dangerous that of course no child is safe anywhere near them, but at least if parents know what they are up against they can take precautions.
But newly introduced laws touted by Victorian Government spokespersons as likely to “result in enhanced community safety” because “every precaution is being taken to protect the community against these people” specifically prohibit anyone from warning parents who these predators are, and that they may be lurking next door, at the local park, or outside their children’s school.
Hinch has already served 12 days in jail for contempt of court for naming notorious child rapist priest Father Michael Glennon in 1987.
These new laws take the “crime” of naming child rapists much more seriously. With the failure of his High Court appeal, Hinch is about to be sentenced, and could receive as much as five years in jail and a $60,000 fine. Unfortunately for those baying for his blood, Hinch has only months to live, as he slowly loses his battle with liver cancer.
One such group, which has the power to bribe or threaten cowardly Catholic politicians to include such draconian and inappropriate measures into a child protection Bill, and the twisted morality to want to protect rapists over the children they destroy, is of course the very organisation who probably still hold a grudge against Hinch for outing Glennon.
A grudge very clear from the fact that despite thousands of others joining him in his “crime”, Hinch was the only person arrested, tried, convicted and about to face sentencing.
The Catholic hierarchy will also enjoy the irony of Hinch being sentenced to a longer term than many of the tiny percentage of Catholic Church child rapists who, unable to bully victims into silence or find a suitable legal loophole, actually receive a custodial sentence.
Hinch did not stumble blindly into his martyrdom. He knew the price he might be asked to pay. That price is to spend the last months of his life alone, unfairly imprisoned, instead of at home surrounded by friends and family. And this brave man is not begging for an exemption. He knows that he is morally in the right but legally in the wrong and is prepared to serve any sentence given to him.
In order to highlight this issue and hopefully lead to the repeal of this stupid, dangerous law.
Something he probably won’t live to see.
Because even if no-one else is, Hinch is looking after the children. And is prepared to die in jail to save them.
That is what true courage, morality and heroism really looks like.
All concepts the Catholic Church, and many in the legal fraternity in Australia, clearly cannot understand.
Quotes from Hinch about his courageous stand against Victorian court suppression orders for the worst child rapists.
“…these suppression orders were designed more with the well-being of rapists and paedophiles in mind than their victims or future victims.”
“…only apply to the worst offenders… if the offender is assessed as ”posing a serious risk to the community of re-offending on his release from jail”.”
“You only suppress the names, photos and details of the baddest of the bad? The ones most likely to re-offend? The ones the community most needs protection from?”
“I argued that… justice is not being done and not being seen to be done… our justice system is not being open and transparent – as justice must be in a democracy like ours.”
“…criminals are getting more protection than victims.”
“I said back then: You, the community, have a right to know. For your sake and for the sake of your kids.”
” …if that’s what it takes. To draw attention to a law that I believe will be changed but probably not in my lifetime.”
” …there have been dozens of them released into your communities in recent years, about whom the courts have said: you are not allowed to know who they are or where they live or what they look like.”
“The judge talked about the ‘emotional and psychological effect on the respondent if material is published’. What about the victims – and future victims? What about the emotional and psychological effects on them?”
” …the judges see my stance as ‘slanted towards victims, with little concerns for the rights of the accused or a released prisoner to resume a normal life without fear of harassment’. Damn right my concerns are ‘slanted towards victims’. The courts …believe they are likely to re-offend.”
“In the case of one of the men I named Police believe he committed many other sex assaults for which he has never been charged. We know that in jail he refused any counselling to aid his rehabilitation. We know that a judge said he was resistant to reform and a psychiatrist warned that if released he would assault girls and women again.”
” …look at the history of the other man I named. And whose name a judge suppressed. A judge said about him: ‘In over 30 years involvement in criminal law, this case is the worst of its kind I have encountered’.
He was a member of a calculating pedophile ring involving his own wife and the evil Mr Baldy. Three of them teamed up while in prison. The judge called them ‘depraved and wicked’.
Within weeks of his release from Sale prison in 1989, Mr Baldy began reoffending with help from his accomplices. The wife …had taken some victims-to-be to visit him in jail in the 1980s.
The despicable human being I named was jailed for 23 years but released in 2003. His wife was jailed for three years for holding down a child while her husband raped him.
And they talk about rehabilitation.”
Visit Hinch’s website
Sign Hinch’s petition