Only two DV thugs fitted with GPS devices on GC

ONLY two violent wife beaters have been fitted with GPS trackers on the Gold Coast despite police compiling a "long list" of thugs capable of killing their former partners.

The waiting list for devices is at least a week long, offenders are not being monitored full-time and the government is accused of either not wanting to fund the ankle bracelets or being embarrassed if they fail to work.

Rapist Robert John Fardon will not be monitored.
Rapist Robert John Fardon will not be monitored.

Police and community workers say at least a dozen women are running scared on the Gold Coast because predators out of jail are not being tracked.

Of the two men fitted with trackers, one removed the device and was hunted down by officers, an emergency service source said.

Police Minister Mark Ryan did not believe it was an issue, however, saying:

"With two of nine GPS trackers currently in place across the state the Gold Coast has more than its fair share with over 20 per cent."

Di McLeod, the director of Gold Coast Centre Aganist Sexual Violence. Photo by Richard Gosling
Di McLeod, the director of Gold Coast Centre Aganist Sexual Violence. Photo by Richard Gosling

The Gold Coast Bulletin has learned of the bracelet breakdown in the wake of the State Government's failed bid to have serial rapist Robert John Fardon's supervision order extended after it expires in October.

On release, Fardon will no longer be monitored by authorities or checked by a psychologist as he moves anywhere he likes without support or counselling.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said she was awaiting advice on the strength of the Government appealing the Supreme Court's decision not to extend the supervision order.

DV rally and memorial service for murdered Worongary mother Kym Cobby. Ros Bates MP attended. Picture: Jerad Williams
DV rally and memorial service for murdered Worongary mother Kym Cobby. Ros Bates MP attended. Picture: Jerad Williams

Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence director Di McLeod said health workers were concerned about the lack of supply of trackers.

"What happens when someone is bailed with a condition of a GPS tracker and you can't get a tracker down here? That hardware needs to be here right now."

However, an emergency services source said: "There's a lot of cost involved. There's the monitoring issue. And then it's a political embarrassment if the offenders commit a crime while on parole."

Police have previously said there is a "long list" of "lethal" offenders they fear could kill their partners.

Opposition health spokesperson Ros Bates, who wants Fardon monitored, said the Government needed to protect vulnerable women and children.

A domestic violence crime scene at Pimpama. Pic Jono Searle.
A domestic violence crime scene at Pimpama. Pic Jono Searle.

"If it takes a week to get a GPS tracker down here from Brisbane, then high-risk offenders need to be locked up so they can be monitored," she said.

"A week of hell would feel like a lifetime for these poor women. If these perpetrators are considered such high risk that they need GPS tracking, why aren't they kept in jail until the tracker is fitted."

The groundbreaking DV reforms passed in 2017. They included the trackers and a DV alert system which enabled victims to be warned when their perpetrators get out of jail. Offenders had to prove they were reformed before being released from jail.

Queensland Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan accused Ms Bates of making claims based on false premises, false conclusions, faulty logic and selective use of memory. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Queensland Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan accused Ms Bates of making claims based on false premises, false conclusions, faulty logic and selective use of memory. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Mr Ryan accused Ms Bates of making claims based on false premises, false conclusions, faulty logic and selective use of memory.

"Here are the facts. First up the number of people ordered to wear GPS trackers is a matter solely for the courts, not the police," Mr Ryan said.

"Ros Bates voted in Parliament in favour of an amendment to that effect. Further, when a court decides whether or not to grant bail consideration of a GPS tracker is not a factor.

"It is only after a decision to grant bail has been made that consideration of a GPS tracker comes into play."

Mr Ryan said the GPS trial being conducted simply adds another layer of monitoring.

The claim that GPS trackers don't seem to be available on the Gold Coast is untrue.

"Once a court orders a person on bail is to be fitted with a GPS tracker the individual must report to a designated police station within seven days to have the device fitted," he said.

"This was the process set in place at the very beginning of this trial. If critics of the trial like Ros want to play silly numbers games think about this.

"With two of nine GPS trackers currently in place across the state the Gold Coast has more than its fair share with over 20 per cent.

"If the claim is that nine court ordered GPS trackers is too few, well that's a matter for the courts. The Queensland Police Service has the trackers ready and waiting."

At the recent Estimates hearing, Mr Ryan talked up the trackers, saying they were "tamperproof" and 750 offenders had been fitted with the devices first introduced in February last year.