Legislative Council: Thursday, October 19, 2023


Alleged Sex Offenders, Bail

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD (15:17): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking questions of the Attorney-General regarding bail for alleged sex offenders.

Leave granted.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD: It was recently reported that a 28-year-old man who allegedly offered to pay a teenage girl for sex and proceeded to sexually assault her three to four times in as many days has been granted home detention bail at a residence where two other children live. The magistrate apparently granted the request of the man's counsel for his client to be bailed on home detention at this particular address as the children at home were 'significantly younger' than the alleged victim.

I note one of the conditions of the suspect's bail is that he is not to be left alone at the address without another parent present, indicating there is at least some doubt as to whether the children would be safe if he had access to them unsupervised. My questions to the Attorney-General are:

1. Is it appropriate in his view to release child sex offenders on bail to live with other children?

2. Is he concerned these children are being placed at least at some risk by having to live with this alleged child sex offender?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:18): I thank the honourable member for his question and his unwavering desire to keep South Australians safe. I think I have read media reports on this issue, if I am remembering correctly, but I am happy to go and revisit those.

As I have answered the honourable member a number of times, when it comes to decisions that magistrates or judges make, certainly as Attorney-General it is not something I am going to offer a running commentary on. As I have said before, we as the parliament set the parameters of what we expect, representing community standards in terms of decisions that are made in relation to bail but also in relation to sentences. I am happy to forward the honourable member's question on to either the police or the DPP, depending on who prosecuted, to bring this issue to their attention.