|Court of Appeal Justice Mark Weinberg|
VICTORIA, Australia’s highest court is being forced to slash the sentences of dangerous child sex predators because of Office of Public Prosecutions bungling.
Interesting, Aussie prosecutors effectiveness was called into question on my previous post.
In a scathing attack on the Office of Public Prosecutions, the Court of Appeal says pleas for new guidelines so juries aren’t confused and trials aren’t derailed have fallen on deaf ears.
Two of the state’s most vile sex fiends have walked free from jail in the past six months, including one who had his prison term cut from 15 years to just 10 months after succesfully appealing a string of convictions.
It has prompted fears that a string of other child sex pests could now appeal their lengthy sentences.
In a damning judgment, the Court of Appeal said juries were being left with impossible tasks because prosecutors were routinely overloading indictments.
“That practice, which, in my experience, has become more prevalent in recent years, achieves nothing of any practical utility,” the Court of Appeal’s Justice Mark Weinberg said.
“It serves only to complicate unnecessarily the already difficult task of conducting a trial for sexual offences.
“It is to be hoped that prosecutors will, in future, give more careful consideration to whether it is really necessary when filing an indictment containing a charge, for example, of rape, to include as a separate charge within that indictment each and every separate but contemporaneous act of indecent assault, or gross indecency, that can be distilled.”
In the most recent case, 69-year-old grub known by the pseudonym Dennis Bauer, who terrorised five kids over almost 50 years, had his sentence slashed from 15 years to just 10 months.
The Court of Appeal quashed a string of convictions and Bauer will face retrials for those offences.
In September, notorious paedophile David Rapson was released from prison just months into a 12-year sentence, despite being found guilty of abusing young boys.
It followed another Court of Appeal judgment that forced the OPP to concede that some of the evidence in the Rapson trial was not cross-admissible.
An OPP spokesman said the Director of Public Prosecutions was considering the implications of the Court of Appeal’s latest judgment.
“Like all other areas of prosecution practice, the way in which indictments are framed is under constant revision and refinement,” she said.