Serial rapist walks free

SERIAL rapist Robert John Fardon may be electronically tagged to allow police to monitor him more effectively after his release from a Brisbane's Wacol Prison. Corrective Services Minister Judy Spence yesterday said the Queensland government hoped to have new laws allowing electronic monitoring in place by February next year. She said the government would consider asking the courts to amend Fardon's release order to include an electronic tag as a condition. The Queensland Court of Appeal ordered 58-year-old Fardon be released from Brisbane's Wacol Prison after dismissing an appeal by state Attorney-General Kerry Shine to have him indefinitely detained. Fardon has spent the last 27 years in prison for violent sexual offences, but will be released under a strict 10-year, 32-point supervision order. Under the order Fardon must undertake regular counselling sessions, and is forbidden from working with children, from visiting parks and public spaces without written permission, or from joining any clubs or affiliations where children might be members. Fardon was first jailed for raping and wounding a 12-year-old girl in 1978 after he lured her to his house to celebrate the birth of his son. Within months of his release in 1988, he had raped, sodomised and assaulted a woman in Townsville, in far north Queensland, and was sentenced to 14 years' jail in June 1989. His full-term release date was June 30, 2003, but just a few weeks prior to that the state government introduced the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003, aimed at protecting the community by keeping dangerous sexual offenders in jail past their release dates. Ms Spence said corrective services and police would monitor Fardon's activity, but that they couldn't guarantee he would be watched 24 hours a day. She said she would not release details of where Fardon would live but that it would be in an appropriate area for an offender of his nature. "I can assure you the accommodation he is going to now is a long way from schools and childcare centres, and other residential addresses," Ms Spence said. Fardon's release has angered child protection campaigners, who claim that his release "makes a joke" of the legal process. ? AAP

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