Western Australia’s attorney general has defended a judge’s decision to release into the community a pedophile who once told a psychologist he had could have defiled up to 1000 children, but later recanted.
A Supreme Court of WA justice last week determined the 65-year-old man, known only as MGD for legal reasons, could be released from jail subject to 49 strict conditions.
The man was in 2009 convicted of 21 offences against six female victims aged three to 11, and sentenced to 10 years behind bars and declared a dangerous sex offender.
He told a psychologist the year prior that he had been offending against children since he was aged eight and his victim tally could have been “20 to 1000.”
But when he saw a psychiatrist in February, he said he committed only the offences of which he had been convicted, starting at age 48.
He strongly rejected the suggestion that based on comments he’d made in the past, he clearly had a lifelong pedophilic interest.
The psychiatrist wasn’t convinced, saying the earlier comments suggested a “persistence and density” of offending throughout his adult life.
He also told her that at the time of his offending, he did not think he was hurting the children but later started gaining insight into his crimes, conceding he had had no respect for his victims and treated them like sex objects.
What he had done was abhorrent and any thoughts about children had been “blasted out” of his consciousness, he insisted.
Attorney General John Quigley defended the judge’s decision on Tuesday, saying it was based on expert opinion and offenders could not be kept in jail beyond their sentence unless there was a very compelling reason.
Quigley said he was confident the man would be safely managed in the community if the Department of Justice strictly enforced all conditions.
“I see the community’s concerns … but you can’t keep these offenders in jail forever,” he told 6PR radio.