The new website for Support After Murder (Incorporated in Victoria) is now live. It is under construction and will be updated soon.
The new website for Support After Murder (Incorporated in Victoria) is now live. It is under construction and will be updated soon.
◾VICTIMS OF CRIME SOLIDARITY MARCH
Commencing at 12 NOON at Federation Square on Sunday 10th November
The Procession will go via Collins St to Parliament House.
This Rally is for all Victims of Crime and is in association with Victims of Crime Week
As reported by ABC News 20/8/2013
The Callinan review of Victoria’s parole system has found that violent criminals have been released into the community without proper consideration of public safety.
The report, by former High Court Justice Ian Callinan, was handed to the State Government today.
It was commissioned after a series of murders committed by parolees, including the murder of former ABC staffer Jill Meagher who was murdered by Adrian Bayley while he was on parole.
The report has found it has been too easy for inmates to secure parole and has recommended making it harder for serious violent and sexual offenders to be released.
The report says the Adult Parole Board must be certain that inmates have a negligible risk of reoffending in order to protect the public and that all parole approvals should be reviewed by another panel.
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine says the review recognises there is a very real need to fix the state’s parole system.
He says dangerous prisoners have been given the benefit of the doubt but that changes today.
“This report draws line in the sand. The culture of parole in Victoria must and will change,” Dr Napthine said.
“Today I make this firm declaration.
“The safety of the community will be the highest priority for the Adult Parole Board.”
Recommendations of the Callinan review
•Consideration should be given to the appointment of a recently retired judge of the Supreme Court to chair the parole board.
•Victims should be informed at least 14 days before an offenders’ release on parole.
•The ratio of offenders to parole officer or supervisor needs to be reduced.
•The board should report publicly on all homicides and other serious offences committed by parolees.
•A new and comprehensive electronic database and case-management system needs to be established as quickly as possible.
Corrections Minister Edward O’Donohue says the report reveals the system is tilted too far in the favour of the offenders.
“The Government is determined to drive cultural change in the parole system and many of the recommendations can be implemented immediately,” he said.
“Others will require more work.”
Noel McNamara from the Crime Victims Support Association is disappointed that the report has not recommended that parole hearings be open to the public.
“It’s got to be transparent. This secret service business from the parole board, where the victims’ families don’t know anything about the past of these people or why they got parole and that’s an absolute disgrace in itself,” he said.
Justice Callinan’s review created a wave of criticism by the families of some of the victims of parolees, including Ms Meagher’s husband Tom, who said they were not consulted.
Mr Meagher met privately with Mr Napthine to discuss the issue last week.
The ‘notorious case of Bayley’
Mr Callinan gave extensive attention to the Jill Meagher case in his review, calling it the “notorious case of Bayley.”
He says there do exist “incorrigible offenders who, despite the best efforts for their rehabilitation, must… be classed as habitual serious offenders.”
Mr Callinan took a swipe at the information provided to his review on decisions made to release Bayley on parole.
“We asked for and were provided with the Bayley file which did not disclose the names of the members of the panel that granted parole to Bayley,” he said in his report.
He described the file as ill-organised and that it had no single document containing straight-forward information about or analytical material relating to his criminal history.
Mr Callinan’s review says the parole board decided to “await the result” of the charges laid against Bayley for an assault in Geelong.
The review states the parole board “reiterated the expectations of him (Bayley) under parole.”
However Corrections Victoria is also blamed for delays in the decision-making about Bayley’s case.
The report says Corrections Victoria produced a report suggesting the parole board await the outcome of Bayley’s appeal against his 3-month sentence for the assault.
Bayley was on bail for the assault when he killed Ms Meagher.
Raechel Betts, 27, was killed by a double murderer who was on parole in 2009.
Her mother, Sandra Betts, is calling for qualified risk assessors to be included in a new system where a second panel would review all successful parole applications.
“We need to see safety experts such as chartered fellows of the Safety Institute of Australia or similar risk assessment professions,” she said.
“We need to have forensic psychologists. People who can assess public safety in greater numbers than the judiciary.”
In a statement, the Adult Parole Board welcomed Mr Callinan’s review, especially the acknowledgment that the board is under-resourced.
The board also supports the emphasis on public safety and says it is looking forward to working with the State Government to implement changes.
Legislative changes introduced earlier this year mean that sex offenders and serious violent offenders will automatically have their parole cancelled if they are convicted of other offences.
Just finished reading the Herald Sun today and there is an article which again highlights the insufficient justice system we have. Ms H you are strong and courageous to put across what happened to you. By making his name public we can only hope future women do not get in contact with this rapist, or gets a very hard time in prison.
To the Corrections Minister Edward O’Donohue, Ms H doesn’t want your extended sympathies she wants justice as all of Australia. Why don’t you do your damn job, a monitoring bracelet for a hisk risk reoffender!! f###!!!! Judge Maidment did not impose a disproportionately high sentence, WTF!!!,maximum for rape is 25 years, and there would not have been another, you should hand in your wig and gavel you idiot, he gets less than half of the maximum and that’s disproportionately high!!!
Should something like this happen to you or someone close to you Minister and Judge, you’ll have to except the lenient sentences given and the risk that they’ll reoffend. So please do Australia a favour and support the victims instead of making excuses to victims and hand out maximum sentences as your allowed to do that!!
Ms H stay strong!!!!
January 22, 2013, 6:18 pm Lynda Kinkade Today Tonight
For a significant number of prisoners parole is being used as a second chance to offend, leading for victims’ families to call for a system overhaul. Those whose loved ones were murdered by parolees are left devastated by crimes they believe should never have been committed.
Locked up then let out, career criminals are awarded ‘get out of jail free cards’ time and time again, only to continue to re-offend while on parole.
The aim of the Parole Board is to release offenders who are no longer considered a risk to society, yet almost half the time they get it wrong. According to the Bureau of Statistics, within two years of being released 41 per cent of prisoners are back behind bars. Shirley and Allan Irwin’s two daughters were murdered by a career criminal while out on parole.
23-year-old Colleen and 21-year-old Laura were renting their first apartment together since leaving home. What the girls didn’t know was the man living next door was about to savagely cut short their dreams, their hopes and their lives.
On a Friday night in 2006 in Melbourne’s west, he cornered them in their home, brutally raping and stabbing them to death
Allan and Shirley cling to their memories but believe this unbearable heartache could have been avoided. Murderer William John Watkins’s record dated backed to 1985 and included convictions for rape, aggravated burglary and assaulting police.
The maximum sentence is more than 40 years but he was given four years and released after just two and a half.
“Had she known he was on parole there’s a fair chance she could have gone to the police station and said ‘this bloke is harassing me’,” Shirley said. Watkins was fatally shot by police three days after the murders, when he bashed an officer in WA after being pulled over for stealing petrol.
Allen and Shirley were thankful they didn’t have to go through the justice system to see Watkins punished, but the same can’t be said for Noel and Beverley McNamara.
Their 29-year-old daughter Tracey bashed and murdered.
“She went out that night and the next thing we get a call from the Ferntree Gully hospital saying she was unconscious,” Noel said.
She died after two days on life support.
Rather than serving twenty years for rape and another 25 years for murder, her killer and rapist Noel Meyers, was sentenced to twelve years and freed after ten.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt so angry in my life,” Noel said.
Helen Wicking’s daughter Joanne was murdered, brutally tortured and stabbed by Sean Maraffko – a murder committed just three weeks after Maraffko was released from prison. “A violent prior history and he was just allowed to get out early and free,” Helen said.
However criminologist Professor Stephen Smallbone from Griffith University, defends the system.
“My observations of the various jurisdictions around Australian indicate that sentences are becoming longer – and have been for a long time – and parole is increasingly becoming more difficult to obtain,” Professor Smallbone said.
Noel McNamara wants concurrent sentencing scrapped, a criminal’s prior convictions released publicly, and a minimum sentence for serious offences.
“The murderer could have murdered before and they are not allowed to know about it – and that’s wrong,” Noel said.
A recent police survey in WA found that 98 per cent had little faith in the judiciary, citing the sentences handed down by magistrates and judges is not tough enough.
We have asked the Attorney-Generals for their response to this story and we plan to follow up.
As reported by The Border Mail 25th July 2013
CHILD killer Derek Percy has taken his evil secrets to the grave.
A suspect in the murders of children in four states, he steadfastly refused to give answers to police and the victims’ families for more than 40 years.
Any hope that he might waver in the face of death to offer some bit of relief to the families proved to be false.
But Percy admitted enough to leave many with no doubt he was responsible for the deaths of up to nine children.
In the cases of Christine Sharrock and Marianne Schmidt, the three Beaumont children, Allen Redston, Simon Brook and Linda Stilwell, he placed himself at the scenes of the crimes.
He claimed he couldn’t remember if he killed them — but he remembered being in each location at the time of each killing, across four states.
Although the murders date back more than 40 years, it’s still chilling to think such a monster was living in our own backyard — at Mount Beauty, Corryong and Khancoban — while many of these gruesome killings took place.
Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara said Percy was a cunning, evil person.
“We just hope he rots in hell,” he said.
And you can’t blame anyone for agreeing with that.
This is from the Leader Berwick Newspaper, written by Michael Randall, 22nd July 2013.
THE victim of a brutal sledgehammer bashing says the barrister who acted for her attacker should be stood down from his role as an ambassador for a women’s anti-violence campaign.
And Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara has backed the call for David Galbally QC to have his White Ribbon ambassadorship stripped, saying he should not represent men who attack women.
But Mr Galbally said he would continue to be an ambassador for the male-led movement aimed at ending men’s violence against women. He said he had acted to support numerous victims of domestic violence and he did not condone violence against women.
“It is an absolute nonsense to say because I happened to represent someone or make a plea in court that I don’t understand or appreciate the trauma victims go through,” Mr Galbally said. “The fact I represent someone in a courtroom doesn’t mean I condone the behaviour they have been involved in. “I have acted for people who have committed crimes that have appalled me, but the individual is entitled to have representation in the courtroom and at the end of the day the judge will sentence them according to law.”
As an ambassador since February 2009, Mr Galbally is one of many public faces of the White Ribbon campaign, called on to take and live by the White Ribbon Oath: “never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women”.
But southeast mum Carla Gagliardi, who was nearly bashed to death in front of her son, then 8, said Mr Galbally “should not be an advocate for White Ribbon when you represent people who have bashed women”.”White Ribbon should stand him down if they really want to send an anti-violence message,” Ms Gagliardi said.
Mr Galbally represented Ms Gagliardi’s attacker in court.
“When I found out he was an ambassador, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “He was standing there in court trying to help my attacker get a low sentence. “He’s helping people who commit the very crimes White Ribbon are trying to stop.”
Mr McNamara said he felt White Ribbon was sending the wrong message allowing someone who has represented men who have bashed women to be an ambassador.
“I have been involved with White Ribbon myself and I get stuck into criminals, not defend them,” Mr McNamara said. “I do a lot of talking with prisoners – first time offenders, no murderers or sex offenders. “I go and talk to them and try and save them from a life of crime, but what I do is different to going and defending them. “It’s just not right.”
Mr Galbally, who was this year made a Member of the Order of Australia, in part for his pro bono legal work, hit back at his critics. “If people bothered to check, those (times when he has represented offenders) are instances where people plead guilty,” he said. “I hardly condone their behaviour. “I’m not standing up in a courtroom saying ‘ha look what they’ve done, he’s all right’.” “I think people are better to concentrate on the cause, rather than try and throw mud.”
White Ribbon chief executive Libby Davies said Mr Galbally had been an ambassador since February 2009 and would continue. “White Ribbon acknowledges that it is a fundamental human right for every person to have access to legal representation and that lawyers have a legal obligation to provide appropriate legal representation,” Ms Davies said.
I recently received the below from a follower and thought you should all be made of aware of it, please let me know what you think.
The meaning behind White Ribbon is to stop violence against women, it’s a male run campaign with Ambassadors. The Ambassadors role is to be leaders and faces of the campaign that incorporate the values of White Ribbon into their daily lives. They can use their influence to affect change within their social and professional circles. I recently found out that one of these Ambassadors is David Galbally QC the same person who defended the perpetrator in my case. Now I’m curious, how does David Galbally influence his Ambassador role to these perpetrators when they have done exactly what White Ribbon is desperately trying to stop?? Is he ‘using’ White Ribbon to show how he doesn’t like defending these perpetrators but enjoys being paid $15k a day to attend court? I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this is just hypocritical, either be a defence attorney and remove yourself from White Ribbon or be a prosecutor and see these criminals get maximum sentencing as they’ve done something which you joined a campaign to stop.
Many questions have not been answered by our “so called” Parole Board or should it be called the Easy Release Board the bigger the scum bag the easy it is to get out. What has to be answered is why did these scum bags be put back into the community to murder and rape at will, William John Watkins, raped and murdered sisters Colleen Irwin,23 and Laura Irwin 21, while on parole. Including Bayley that is only the tip of the iceberg, there are many, many more. Why was Bayley allowed to change his name after king hitting in a cowardly way the basketball player from Geelong, the from Edwards to Bailey. Hiding your head in the sand is not the way a Parole Board should work. Now lets put some people on the board with practical experience on the board.
Victoria parole system under fire after Jill Meagher case | World news | guardian.co.uk
Monday, 1 July 2013
Apart from the utter horror of Jill Meagher’s rape and murder at the hands of Adrian Bayley, one other sentiment is widely shared by media and politicians alike in Victoria: the state’s parole system is broken.
After all, how could a man found guilty of 20 rapes in a 23-year period be allowed to roam the streets of Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs after smashing the jaw of another man while on parole?
Coalition and Labor have been in furious agreement on the parole issue. Premier Denis Napthine said the regime had “failed Jill Meagher”, while the state opposition leader, Daniel Andrews, similarly denounced a “catastrophic and almost unspeakable failure of our system”.
Meanwhile, Derryn Hinch, Victoria’s resident “human headline”, gravely intoned to camera that the failure was one of personnel.
“The system didn’t fail. The people on the parole board failed,” he said on Today Tonight.“Bleeding hearts, civil libertarians, they failed. They were more concerned about the supposed rehabilitation of a serial rapist than the safety of our young women.”
The state government has launched a review of the parole system, headed by Justice Ian Callinan, in the wake of Bayley’s case. Greater victim involvement in parole has been mooted, as has the complete scrapping of the parole system – a suggestion dismissed by Napthine.
The desire to overhaul parole in Victoria concerns some law groups, who point to the fact that it has already been toughened up considerably over the past year.
Following a series of murders committed by people on parole, the state government moved in February to bring in an automatic cancellation of parole for violent and sex offenders as soon as they are charged with a fresh offence. Around 600 people a year in Victoria breach parole conditions. Few of these people are violent rapists.
Sam Norton, co-chair of Law Institute Victoria’s criminal law section, said it would be difficult for Napthine to make the parole rules any tougher than they currently were.
“There’s an erosion of the assumption of innocence if your parole is cancelled as soon as you’re charged,” he said. “There’s great concern that charged offences are never proved but you have people’s liberty taken from them. It’s open to manipulation by police members who want to take certain people off the streets.
“Bayley is an extreme case. It’s incredibly difficult to assess systems when you look at a human being who is prepared to do things he’s done. We shouldn’t allow a single person and his atrocities to influence everything else.”
Norton said that if victims, who already have the right to contact Victoria’s parole board for information, were to have a greater input on parole decisions, then so should representatives for the offender.
The state government’s top advisory body on parole, the Sentencing Advisory Council, released a report last year on the issue, with most of its recommendations taken up by the parole board.
The report’s key recommendation was that community safety be placed at the forefront of parole decisions, but it also highlighted other areas of improvement, such as the risk assessment process and the transparency of decisions.
Arie Freiberg, chair of the council, said that while the organisation recommended a tightening of the criteria for granting release on parole, there was a danger that the thirst for change following the Meagher case would prove damaging.
“Bad cases like Bayley’s tend to case a cast a bad light on system, but it has worked reasonably well,” he said. “The majority released don’t offend, go on to lead normal life. We tend to forget them. Hard cases make bad law, as the old saying goes.”
Freiberg pointed to the 23-person parole board’s lack of resources as he sought to explain how the system could allow Bayley to be free after committing a serious assault while on parole.
The parole board makes an estimated 10,000 decisions a year. This heavy workload, and the growing number of short custodial sentences, has seen Victoria’s prison population balloon.
Despite still having the second-lowest imprisonment rate in Australia, Victoria’s prison population has risen by nearly 40% in the past 10 years, to nearly 5,000 people.
While a clampdown on any parole transgression could stop a further outrage similar to Bayley’s, some lawyers are concerned that a renewed focus on punishment will do little to curb crime in the long-term.
“The parole board are good people doing their best job [but] they move through decisions very quickly and they have an unmanageable workload,” said Hugh de Krester, executive director of the Human Rights Law Centre.
“Adrian Bayley was granted parole and from what I’ve read on the case I agree with others in that it should’ve been cancelled, especially with his history. But it’s critical that we don’t do away with the parole system.
“All the research shows parole reduces risk of offending and the frequency and seriousness of reoffending.”
De Krester said the parole system needed “strengthening” by having better co-ordination with police and greater transparency for both offenders and victims. He also wants the parole board to lose its exemption from Victoria’s human rights legislation, to ensure “natural justice” is served in the decision-making process.
“The problem is that no one knows how parole works outside of the system,” he said. “The consequence of that is that mistakes are made. Offenders spend more time in prison than they should, but they are also released when they shouldn’t be.”
Premier gets ready to rumble
Friday, May 17, 2013 – 11:56 AM
By Eamon Evans
Victoria’s premier has come out swinging against the decision to award a boxing licence to notorious Melbourne underworld figure, Mick Gatto.
“Let’s be clear: we do not want Mick Gatto and his nefarious ilk running boxing events in Victoria,” Denis Napthine declared on Friday morning. “Accordingly, I have asked the Sports Minister to conduct an urgent review of the provisions of the Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Act relating to the criteria for accreditation of boxing promoters.”
The president of the Crime Victims Support Association, Noel McNamara, described the decision to grant the licence as “disgraceful”. “We don’t think Mick Gatto is a fit and proper person to hold a licence because of his background. Boxing is notoriously a sad state of affairs when criminals become involved in it.”
“Gatto has been involved in the underworld and a leopard never changes its spots. He isn’t the right person for that kind of job. He has done things in his life which leave a lot to be desired. It is disgraceful he has been granted a licence.”
Once a promising boxer himself, Mr Gatto is a “professional mediator” within the building industry, who was acquitted of murder in 2005. Currently banned from Crown Casino and Victoria’s racetracks, his criminal record features illegal gambling, deception, assaulting police and reckless conduct endangering life and burglary.
The man himself describes his critics as “silly”, pointing out that fellow boxing promoter Don King has criminal convictions as well. “And like I keep saying, he was convicted of murder – I was acquitted.”
“Everyone makes mistakes in life. I’ve made a couple. I’ve been clean the last 10 or 15 years. If people want to carry on about victims of crime, or whatever nonsense they’re going on about … I mean, what have I got to do with crime?”
“What’s crime got to do with me?”