Victim advocates demanding a two-strikes rule for serial paedophiles
Victim advocates demanding a two-strikes rule for serial paedophiles

Calls to jail serial paedophiles for life

A mandatory two-strike rule to lock serial paedophiles up for life has been ruled out by the state government, despite growing pressure to keep the killer of schoolgirl Samantha Knight behind bars.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston has called on Attorney-General Mark Speakman to follow Queensland's lead and send paedophiles to jail for life after their second offence.


Samantha Knight was just nine years old when she was killed.
Samantha Knight was just nine years old when she was killed.

"I would rather give a child a first chance than give a sex offender a second chance," Ms Johnston said yesterday.

"It always comes down to the law and we put our faith in judges, but clearly there are some offenders who pose such a danger to the community that they must be kept in prison indefinitely."

Criminal psychologist Tim Watson-Munro said it was worth looking at some type of "strikes" policy.

He said persistent sex offenders had to want to change otherwise counselling and chemical castration would not work.

"Look at the recidivism rate of child sex offenders," Dr Watson-Munroe said.

"It is very high and treatments often don't work. Unfortunately, for these type of offenders there are targets everywhere - just driving along the street they will see children as potential victims."


NSW has a maximum life sentence for sexual assault on a child under 10 and for offences of persistent child sexual abuse but they are not mandatory.

The state is seeking a one-year Continuing Detention Order for Samantha Knight's killer Michael Guider, whose sentence ends on June 6.

Victims' advocate Howard Brown said the threshold for judges to impose these orders should be reduced. He said courts were putting the civil rights of offenders before community safety.

There are currently five offenders, including two sex offenders whose sentences are finished, who are locked up under CDOs and another 180 high-risk offenders under tough Extended Supervision Orders - but 44 of those have breached the order and are back in jail.


Mr Brown said judges saw CDOs as draconian but they were needed, with around one in four offenders put on ESOs breaching them: "The thing that has to be changed is the threshold because the threshold of imposing a CDO is still too high."

Mr Speakman said yesterday: "There is no greater priority for the NSW government than the protection of children. There are fewer more appalling crimes than sexual offences committed against them."

He said reforms put in place after the child sex abuse royal commission required judges to apply current sentencing principles instead of historic lenient ones.