Serial rapist could have been kept off the street

SERIAL rapist Robert Fardon would have remained off the streets living under supervision in a secure compound near Wacol if the State Government had ticked off on key legal reforms.

Fardon would have been forced to wear a GPS tracker until the day he died.

The laws would have given the Attorney-General the power to determine when the supervision order would have ended, ensuring community safety was placed first.

Instead, Murwillumbah-born Fardon, who has been offending since he was 18 in 1967, is free to return to the Gold Coast where he is accused of raping a mentally impaired woman at Palm Beach in 2008.

 

Robert John Fardon on a train. Pic 9 News
Robert John Fardon on a train. Pic 9 News

The Bulletin can reveal the shocking consequences of Labor refusing to debate the LNP's Protecting Queenslanders from Violent and Child Sex Offenders Amendment Bill last September.

 

Opposition Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki said he introduced an urgency motion for the Bill to be debated and passed during the September 19 sittings.

"Our plan would have kept him under strict supervision - Labor's plan is to play politics and hope Fardon now pops in to report to police," Mr Janetzki said.

 

Sex Offender Robert John Fardon in court over plotting to escape. Artist Bentley
Sex Offender Robert John Fardon in court over plotting to escape. Artist Bentley

"It's up to Labor to say when our Bill can be debated but I expect they will ensure it never sees the light of day. They would rather play politics than work with us to protect Queenslanders."

But the reform Bill is likely to be shunted off to a parliamentary committee, rather than have a full debate inside the parliamentary chamber, and it is unknown when it will surface again.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath yesterday said "Queenslanders can rest assured that our State has the toughest post-conviction monitoring system in the country".

Photographs have emerged of Fardon as regular train user as he bases himself in southeast Queensland.

Coast MP Ros Bates and Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence director Di McLeod, both of whom have given support to Fardon's victims, predicted he would return to the playground of his worst crimes.

Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates at state parliament.
Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates at state parliament.

"He should have a GPS tracker on him," Ms Bates said. "He should be monitored around the clock.

"He should have an order where he can't contact any of his previous victims. They don't want to be living in fear of him turning up in their neighbourhood. We don't want him on the Gold Coast."

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston believed Fardon would reoffend.

"This comes down to a legal contest instead of a moral contest, between his civil rights to freedom against the human rights of the community to be safe and for our children to be protected," Ms Johnston said.

"Unfortunately our kids come second every time and it's infuriating.

Queensland State Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath (AAP Image/Claudia Baxter)
Queensland State Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath (AAP Image/Claudia Baxter)

"We just shouldn't have to be living in fear of this man. Children deserve much better than that."

Ms D'Ath said Fardon would be an automatic reportable offender for the rest of his life.

"This means police will know where Fardon lives and travels, details of his phone and internet connections, social media accounts, interactions and passwords for the rest of his life," she said. "If Fardon fails to meet these reporting conditions, he could face five years in jail."

The Government took legal action to extend the supervision order first put in place five years ago and when that was rejected took advice only to be told there were no grounds for an appeal.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington, who wants mandatory GPS tracking of sex offenders, yesterday targeted Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for putting the community at risk.

"Make no mistake, this sadistic grub is unsupervised on the streets because of weak leadership and petty politics by Annastacia Palaszczuk," she said.

"Annastacia Palaszczuk played Russian roulette with the courts and lost. It was clear from last year that Labor had no plan B and that has been proven today."