Queensland’s attorney-general has failed to stop the release of serial rapist Robert Fardon after a failed eleventh hour appeal.
Serial sex offender Robert Fardon has been released into secure accommodation after a lengthy court battle in Queensland.
Queensland Corrective Services says the 65-year-old was released into a facility on the grounds of Brisbane Correctional Centre, west of Brisbane, on Friday afternoon.
Fardon will be subject to the strict conditions of his court order including intensive supervision, GPS electronic monitoring, home visits, drug and alcohol testing and restrictions on where he goes and who he associates with.
However child safety advocates and past victims have condemned the court ruling and are concerned he will reoffend.
They include Sharon Tomlinson, who was 12 when raped and choked by Fardon, and who says the courts are “laughing” at the community.
“All I can say is just be very, very careful with children and keep an eye on those that you love because predators are allowed to walk within our community,” she told reporters.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie blamed the previous Labor government’s “weak” dangerous prisoner legislation for Friday’s decision and said he’s receiving advice on whether to appeal in the High Court.
“I am also consulting with the legal fraternity to find possible ways to strengthen Labor’s failed legislation,” he said in a statement.
Fardon has spent most of his adult life in prison for sex offences against women and girls dating back to 1967, when he was 18.
In 2003 he became the first prisoner detained indefinitely – subject to periodic review – under new laws designed to keep the state’s worst prisoners locked up.
Since then he’s been released twice but each time was locked up again for breaking court orders, including absconding to Townsville.
In October Supreme Court Judge Peter Lyons deemed Fardon fit for release, prompting an immediate appeal by Mr Bleijie.
The minister also rushed through contentious “Plan B” laws that gave him power to overrule court orders releasing dangerous prisoners if it was in the public’s interest.
But on Friday the Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Bleijie’s appeal and declared his legal amendments invalid.
Judges Catherine Holmes, John Muir and Hugh Fraser found Justice Lyons’ decision was sound, and Mr Bleijie’s amendments were incompatible with the institutional integrity of the state’s highest court.
The ruling provided ammunition for the LNP government’s opponents, with Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk calling it an embarrassing blow to Mr Bleijie.
Corruption fighter and former judge Tony Fitzgerald labelled the state government inexperienced and arrogant.
And the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties said Mr Bleijie’s “grandstanding” had resulted in laws that were a flagrant breach of the separation of powers.
“No one is going to dispute that Robert Fardon is not a particularly nice man. But he has his human rights,” the council’s chairman Michael Cope said.
However Mr Bleijie said he made no apologies for doing everything possible to protect the community.
“We will continue to fight for the safety of Queensland families,” he said.