Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 01, 2022


Alleged Sex Offenders, Bail

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD (15:10): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking questions of the Attorney-General regarding bail for alleged sex offenders in South Australia.

Leave granted.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD: On Thursday 19 May, just a few days ago, the Supreme Court released 37-year-old Mark Allen on home detention bail. Allen was accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl 26 times within a two-week period. The alleged offender is yet to plead to almost 40 charges, which include unlawful sexual intercourse and the supply of a controlled substance to a child. Although the accused was granted bail, the judge in question considered it—and I quote directly—'a borderline call'. My questions to the Attorney-General are:

1. Does the Attorney support the Supreme Court's decision to release Mark Allen on bail?

2. Will the Attorney-General undertake an audit of the number and frequency of child sex offenders being released on bail and for what reason?

3. What percentage of child sex offenders are currently on bail in South Australia?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:11): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in these matters. I might take the last questions first in terms of response. I'm happy to see if there are statistics on those. I don't have any on hand, but if there are any that are readily available, I'm happy to bring them back.

In relation to: do I support something the Supreme Court does? Certainly, it is the role of an Attorney-General as the state's first law officer to support the work of the courts. It is not my role nor place to criticise what the courts do. The courts interpret and enforce the laws that the parliament has set down for them, and I think most people in this place understand that they do a good job doing that.

The people that have been appointed to courts as judges and magistrates over time, from both Liberal and Labor when in government, I think are generally recognised as eminently capable people interpreting what parliament says. Do I support what a court does? That is my role as Attorney-General, to support the courts, so I'm not going to stand in this place and criticise decisions that a court has made.