A sex offender accused of abducting a young girl in a Sydney suburb has been refused bail. Christopher Irwin, 34, was arrested last Friday after allegedly luring a seven-year-old girl away from the front yard of her grandmother’s home in Macquarie Fields. It is alleged the predator asked the girl, “Do you want to see something cool?,” before leading her inside a nearby abandoned home and removing her jumper. Neighbours who had allegedly seen the child being led away by the stranger, told the girl’s grandmother and proceeded to run down the street in search of the girl. Other neighbours joined and rushed over to the abandoned home, where they forced themselves in and detained Irwin until police arrived to the scene.
On Saturday morning, it was revealed Irwin had previously been convicted on charges for accessing child pornography. He was charged with taking a child with intent to remove parental control and remain in a building with intent to commit an indictable offence. The magistrate at Parramatta Bail Court described the allegations against him as disturbing and concerning and refused his bail.
NSW Government Crackdown on Sex Offenders
The NSW Government has cracked down on sex offenders since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was launched in 2016. Recent reports revealed around 17,000 convicted paedophiles were in Australia. Disturbingly, it was reported only the worst paedophiles were being monitored regularly due to the lack of police officers. In light of the Royal Commission Recommendations, a range of tough new laws were introduced in the Crimes Act 1900 (the Act) with the passage of the Criminal Legislation Amendment (Child Sexual Abuse) Act 2018. This included a maximum life sentence for persistent child sexual abuse and broadening the offence of child grooming. New offences for failure to report and failure to protect against child abuse were also added in the Act. Furthermore, the NSW Government established a monitoring group to ensure the legislative changes operated effectively.
National Public Registry of Child Sex Offenders
The Federal Budget 2019-20 has provided $7.8 million to establish a National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders, which would allow Australians to search child sex offenders in their local area. The ‘name and shame’ list would include the photo of the sex offender, aliases, date of birth, a physical description, and details of their crime. Offenders under the age of 18 would not have their details recorded. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who proposed the public register of child sex offenders early this year, said “it would have strong deterrent effect on offenders and ensure that parents are not in the dark about whether a registered sex offender has access to their children.” However, the registry has been argued to do more harm than good.
The public registry has been criticised by legal professionals to increase the risk of ongoing police monitoring and re-offending by those on the register. President Arthur Moses of Law Council of Australia said a mandatory child sex offender registry would also increase the risk of adverse community attention and vigilantism. Moreover, the Australian Institute of Criminology found “the effectiveness of public sex offenders registries [is] mixed.” It added that registries may have a small general deterrent effect on first-time offenders, but do not reduce recidivism. In light of this, policy responses to sexual offences should be carefully considered and backed by evidence.
Being charged with an offence of sexual assault and or assaults involving acts of Indecency can be very confronting. The stigma attached to these types of assault charges place you and your loved ones under significant stress. This is especially the case when you are not guilty. A great deal of understanding and discretion from your legal representatives is essential.
At O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors, we have represented many hundreds of clients charged with sexual assault and indecent assault offences. We have successfully applied for bail in the Local and Supreme Courts for these types of matters. We have successfully defended people in the Local and District courts. O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors’ criminal defence lawyers have the experience and technical knowledge to explain to you clearly and simply where you stand and what your options are.
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If you have been charged with sexual assault related offences, contact us for a free initial consultation. We are experts in this area of law and will be able to assist you in getting the best outcome for your case. Call us on (02) 9261 4281 or email .