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Australia: Alleged sex offenders to lose anonymity under changes to South Australian law

[ – 5/7/20]

South Australian legal reforms that strip alleged sex offenders of their right to anonymity have been hailed as an important safety measure by the victim of a notorious paedophile.

But senior legal figures have warned the change could lead to vigilante justice and destroy the reputations of those who are charged but later acquitted.

The changes, which have come into effect today, mean anyone charged with a sex offence can be named from their first court appearance.

One of two brothers preyed on by convicted paedophile Vivian Deboo in the 1990s said the move would bolster public safety.

“As a community, for us to be aware of who people being charged with these offences are, is probably a very good thing, I think, for safety,” the victim, known as brother B, told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“If [a] neighbour … had been charged with a child sex crime, I would want to know about that.”
In early March, State Parliament passed the changes, which rewrite part of the Evidence Act, but SA Police and the Courts Administration Authority were allowed time to adapt their internal processes.

Previously, the identity of alleged offenders was protected until they pleaded guilty or were committed for trial.

Under the changes, an accused can still keep their identity secret if they can convince a judge there is good reason for a suppression order.

An alleged sex offender will also remain anonymous if there is a risk that revealing their identity would also identify a victim.


‘Right to know’ versus ‘destroyed reputations’

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said she was proud the State Government had removed the “archaic” law.

“I believe that, in the vast majority of cases, the public has the right to know the identity of someone who has been charged with an offence of this nature,” she said.

However, Tony Kerin of the Law Society of South Australia said the amendment created more problems than it solved.

“Accused persons can now have reputations and quality of life destroyed, even if they’re not guilty,” he said.

Read the full article


Join the discussion

  1. Jack

    So Australians have decided it’s best to behave like a bunch of animals then.

  2. Facts should matter

    “Accused persons can now have reputations and quality of life destroyed, even if they’re not guilty,” he said.

    Not to mention loss of enjoyment of life and diminished standard of living.

    America should not be looked upon as a role model for other countries to aspire to.

  3. Jax

    This is not surprising. Australia has long started down the fear mongering road. It’s the country most closest to America when it comes to sex offender registry laws, but still the Aussies can’t beat the good ole USA when it comes to punishment for sex offenses. I would skip Australia and go to New Zealand. Although they sometimes turn sex offenders away, NZ does have a criminal rehbilitation process.

  4. Bill from CA

    Why stop there? Don’t Australians have the right to know who sold life destroying drugs in the past? Or who drove drunk a long time ago? Or how about closet case homosexuals that got caught in public? They NEED to know these things!

    This is the slippery slope of politics, once on it, there will be no end to these public crucifixions…

  5. Edwin

    There’s nothing here. This is not news in America. Every court, media outlet and vic rights website trots out the names of not only folks being charged with sex crimes but arrested for them too. CCAP is our infamous public website clearing house for people charged with sex and other crimes. The Aussies are only trying to catch up to the US.

  6. Adama

    A notorious pedophile who abused 3 young children gets only six years? Even Australia is less harsh than the us.

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