Topics:  beryl spencer, child safety, court of appeal, de facto, incest, jarrod bleijie

Bid to end incestual 'Brady bunch' relationships

A LOOPHOLE enabling de facto partners a legal defence to incest in Queensland through marriage is a step closer to being shut.

Two petitions against the defence, enacted in Queensland during 1997 to legalise "Brady bunch" relationships among step-siblings, have been lodged in Queensland Parliament.

Child safety advocate Beryl Spencer collected the 252 signatures after becoming closely involved with an Ipswich family in a case where the Court of Appeal quashed an incest conviction through this defence in 2008.

The man was initially convicted after a trial in Ipswich for having sex with his de facto wife's 17-year-old daughter, making her above the consenting age but not yet an adult.

However, the Court of Appeal found the man and teen were "lawfully entitled to be married".

The Court of Appeal did find his actions "morally reprehensible" though, noting he regarded the girl as his daughter and she regarded him as her father.

Mrs Spencer said she had been working for four years to get the legislation changed and was relieved it could happen this year.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, in a letter responding to the petition, said he had introduced a bill to address the matter which would come under the scrutiny of the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee.

The committee was due to report to parliament by March 7 this year.



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