News

Justice erred on Fardon release: Solicitor-General

CONVICTED sex offender Robert Fardon has an incurable psychopathic personality disorder and would always remain a danger to the community, the Queensland Attorney-General has argued.

Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff, acting for the Attorney-General, told the Court of Appeal that the justice who deemed Fardon suitable for supervised release earlier this month had erred in the way she considered evidence from a psychologist and two psychiatrists.

He said the psychologist, who suggested Fardon had improved his attitude to co-operating with authorities, began his assessment from a flawed basis.

Mr Sofronoff said Dr Nick Smith had diagnosed Fardon with post-traumatic stress disorder but doctors Donald Grant and Michael Beech disagreed, rather diagnosing psychopathy.

He said Dr Grant believed Fardon would benefit from a sexual offender treatment program even though he was not diagnosed with pedophilia.

But he said Fardon had thus far refused to complete the program.

Dan O'Gorman, acting for Fardon, told the appeal court the releasing justice had made adequate provisions to protect the community and mitigate risks his client might re-offend.

He said the justice rightly considered Fardon's behaviour changes towards corrective services procedures and limited steps to prepare for release.

Court of Appeal justices John Muir, Robert Gotterson and Ros Atkinson reserved their decision to a date to be fixed.

The Attorney-General successfully made an 11th-hour bid to stay Fardon's release order earlier this month.
Fardon's release to the community was blocked just hours before he was to be transferred to the Wacol precinct on a five-year supervision order.

The 64-year-old has spent 23 years in jail, with his three most serious crimes relating to sex offences against two young children.

Fardon, born in Murwillumbah in NSW, was the first Queenslander given an indefinite jail sentence, after the law was changed to keep him behind bars.

After reviewing his indefinite status under the Queensland Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act, Justice Debra Mullins found he remained a danger to the community but the risk could be reduced with strict conditions.

Those conditions included a GPS tracking device, curfew, monitoring directions, drug and alcohol abstinence, and bans from going unsupervised to a place that houses children, intellectually disabled persons, mentally ill persons or people with substance misuse difficulties.

If the state is unsuccessful in keeping Fardon behind bars through the Court of Appeal, Premier Campbell Newman has vowed to take other legal avenues.

Topics:  court robert john fardon



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