Robert Fardon being transported by police in 2013. Picture: Darren England
Robert Fardon being transported by police in 2013. Picture: Darren England

Community must be protected from psychopath

WITHIN weeks, a man deemed by experts to be an incurable psychopath will walk freely among us.

Robert John Fardon will emerge from the prison grounds that have been his home for the past four years unencumbered by restrictions on his movements.

The Supreme Court's decision to release Fardon from the confines of his supervision order, which have forced him to adhere to curfews and counselling, brings to an end a 15-year fight to keep this unrepentant and violent recidivist behind bars.

Fardon's sordid history of sexual violence dates back to 1967 when he was convicted as an 18-year-old of attempted unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl aged under 10.

He was released on a good behaviour bond.

Rapist Robert John Fardon
Rapist Robert John Fardon

Just over a decade later he raped a 12-year-old girl at gunpoint and was sentenced to 13 years' jail. He was released after eight years.

And just 20 days after being released, he subjected a woman to a prolonged violent assault and was later convicted of rape, sodomy and assault occasioning bodily harm.

That crime got him 14 years.

So concerned was the Beattie government about Fardon's release in 2003, and under siege for its reputation of being "soft on crime", that they rushed through legislative changes that created "indefinite sentences".

"This is about protecting children and others who could potentially be victims of dangerous sex offenders who are judged not to have been rehabilitated and are likely to reoffend," former premier Peter Beattie said at the time.

Labor MPs were clearly squeamish about the reforms under the landmark Dangerous Prisons (Sexual Offenders) Act.

As the law was rammed through, Mudgeeraba's Di Reilly told Parliament that she was supporting them "with some reservations".

In December 2013, Robert Fardon was released under supervision orders to live at a house for sex offenders on restricted parole.
In December 2013, Robert Fardon was released under supervision orders to live at a house for sex offenders on restricted parole.

And Ipswich's Rachel Nolan acknowledged the laws "impinged on one of the fundamental legal principles - that is, do the crime, do the time".

Meanwhile, then Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg reminded Labor members that he'd proposed the same laws three years earlier only to be lambasted by Labor.

Fifteen years on, Fardon is being released not because he has been deemed to be of no risk to women and children.

In fact, the view of psychiatrists when he was released under supervision orders in 2013 was that age would limit his ability to reoffend.

So in the end, all the community has to rely on is blind hope that this old sick fiend will not be able to muster the strength to enact his twisted urges.

That is simply not acceptable given the last time Fardon was in the community a decade ago, he was caught attending a school on a prearranged visit and disobeying curfew restrictions.

Robert Fardon is released from prison in 2013.
Robert Fardon is released from prison in 2013.

Fardon's release represents a unique and serious challenge for the Palaszczuk Government.

So often the administration has got away with declaring "everything is awesome" like a scene out of The Lego Movie.

That won't wash on this occasion.

The Newman government proposed laws that would have handed authority to the Attorney-General to overrule the courts and keep Fardon behind bars.

They were extreme laws, struck out by the Court of Appeal, but these are extreme cases.

During the debate, Palaszczuk described the laws as "an unabashed grab at power by a megalomaniac Attorney-General who has no qualms about trampling on the rights gained over centuries of struggle".

However, now it is Palaszczuk's responsibility to keep the community safe from Fardon.

So far, it appears the Government's only response will be to cross its fingers and hope Fardon doesn't reoffend.

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled

 

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath waxed lyrical this week about how she "appreciates that the victims themselves feel very strongly".

Does she really? Has she met with them?

D'Ath said she might appeal the Supreme Court's decision to release Fardon from the confines of his supervision order, but that will depend on legal advice.

"I am very mindful that we have a very short window to take any further action because Robert John Fardon's current supervision is due to expire in October," she said.

What bunkum.

D'Ath has been Attorney-General since February 2015.

Throughout that entire time, Fardon has been on a supervision order and at risk of release.

Her comments just show she and the rest of the Government have done precisely nothing to develop a Plan B for if and when the Supreme Court decides to release him.

Palaszczuk said the Attorney-General had "conveyed to me how serious this issue is".

 

It’s now the Palaszczuk Government’s responsibility to keep the community safe from Fardon. Picture: Lethbridge
It’s now the Palaszczuk Government’s responsibility to keep the community safe from Fardon. Picture: Lethbridge

 

Well, for a start, if the Premier needs reminding who Fardon is, there is a serious problem.

Palaszczuk also said she won't ponder legislative solutions until receiving legal advice on an appeal.

Really? Can't the Government manage two things at once?

They are already scrambling because they failed to plan for this eventuality, and now they will wait around before considering new laws. What a joke.

Labor sided with the legal community against the Newman government's laws when it was easy from Opposition. Now a psychopath will walk free within weeks.

Surely in this instance even the Palaszczuk Government must reach the conclusion that doing nothing is not an option.At least she was bipartisan in her efforts, given she also invited LNP MPs and crossbench members.