The Sensible Sentencing Trust says comments on a sex-offender register by Police Minister Anne Tolley indicate the Government has learnt nothing from the legal high debacle.
The Prime Minister has been forced to admit the Government made a mistake in the handling of the legal high issue and the Sensible Sentencing Trust has come out swinging saying they are about to repeat the mistake with the proposed sex-offender register.
The Government has proposed the creation of a list of offenders convicted of sex crimes against children, and that it will be available only to police and relevant government agencies.
Police Minister Anne Tolley said “There is very good evidence that particularly those high-risk offenders will be driven underground if they are named and shamed.”
But Sensible Sentencing Spokesman Garth McVicar has slammed her comments.
“The Ministers comments are clear evidence she is either getting advice from those with a vested interest or has her head in the sand.”
“For the Minister to say high-risk offenders will be driven underground is ludicrous. All sex offenders – low or high-risk – rely on keeping their activities underground, that is the way they operate and the Minister seems to be endorsing this behaviour.”
Mr McVicar said the Minister seems to be ignoring the fact that sex offenders are convicted in a public process. “The Courts determine on all the facts. If there is no name suppression granted their names should rightly be in the public arena and listed on a publicly available register.”
“If the Minister has been advised that a conviction that has been recorded in a public Court – a court of record – should somehow be suppressed it shows how out of touch her advisors are – either that or someone has something to hide.”
McVicar said the fact that SST is currently being sued by the Director of Human Rights Proceedings for listing a convicted paedophile on their data-base showed how out of touch many government Departments are.
“We have a Court minute showing this convicted sex-offender does not have name suppression yet a government department is spending tax-payer money prosecuting us.”
“The Prime Minister seems to be an astute man; my advice would be that he makes sure there are no unpleasant surprises behind the action against SST and proposal to bar public access to the sex-offender register.”