By Xavier La Canna
Updated Fri 26 Sep 2014, 11:26am
There was clearly evidence to support charges against convicted sex offender Donald Bruce Henderson, who had numerous claims of child abuse against him dropped in 1976 and again in 2002, the head of an inquiry says.
|Teflon Don Henderson|
as a young man
The inquiry was shown an email from former crown prosecutor Glen Dooley, who handled the early part of the case against Mr Henderson.
Mr Dooley described Mr Henderson, who is now aged 78, as allegedly being "something of a sexual monster" with children in his care.
A witness said he once saw Mr Henderson having sex with a chicken, according to the email.
The letter indicated the matter should proceed to trial in 2002 and given a "decent go" even if it did not culminate in convictions.
"In these cases from what you have read there was plainly evidence to support the charges," Justice McClellan said to Mr Karczewski on Thursday.
|Karczewski questioned over decision|
to drop charges against Henderson
"There was evidence to support some charges," Mr Karczewski responded.
"That is crystal clear," Justice McClellan said before adjourning the proceedings until Friday.
The inquiry heard earlier there were several reasons why 15 charges that passed the committal phase of proceedings were dropped before the case was due to go to trial.
Initially there were more than 80 charges levelled at Mr Henderson, including for indecent assault and buggery.
A document tendered to the commission showed that Michael Carey, who at the time was the general counsel to the NT DPP, recommended the charges against Mr Henderson be dropped because of inconsistencies with testimony from some witnesses and an inability for some of them to nail a particular alleged offence to a particular time.
Mr Carey is now a sitting NT magistrate. I think this inquiry should dig deeper - into any relationship there might have been between Henderson and Carey.
The commission also heard difficulties because one of the alleged victims of Mr Henderson also had allegations of child sex crimes levelled against them.
Earlier, the commission heard historical allegations that Mr Henderson molested children in swimming spots across Darwin between July 1965 and October 1983.
He was convicted of two counts of sexually abusing children at the Casuarina public swimming pool in 1983 and handed a $500 good behaviour bond. What, no gold watch?
|Lawyer John Lawrence (left) questions former police detective |
Roger Newman about a sex assault investigation.
Lawyer John Lawrence SC, who is acting for some of Mr Henderson's alleged victims, questioned former police detective Roger Newman, who ran the investigation into Mr Henderson, as to why he thought Mr Henderson was not prosecuted for crimes other than the 1983 charges.
"It would have alerted you as a detective that he might have felt a lot safer against the authorities if the charges were in relation to young boys and girls from Retta Dixon, as opposed to a couple of young white kids," Mr Lawrence said.
Mr Newman has been critical of the decision not to prosecute Mr Henderson, who had court action withdrawn against him in 1976 and again in 2002.
Under questioning from senior counsel assisting the commission, Sophie David, Mr Newman said he had notes that appeared to show Mr Henderson was "with the YMCA World Vision then AMP Life Insurance".
Mr Newman said he was not certain of the connection between Mr Henderson and the YMCA.
The commission also heard that Mr Henderson was either an adoptive or a foster parent to some children.
The inquiry in Darwin has been focusing on abuse of children at the Retta Dixon home, which mainly housed Aboriginal children between 1946 until it closed in 1980.
Graphic evidence of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Mr Henderson, who worked as a "house parent" at Retta Dixon, and other workers at Retta Dixon has been aired.