Sex offender Robert Fardon will again walk free from prison after it was admitted the source of fears he would abscond was unreliable.
Queensland’s most notorious sex offender Robert Fardon will be released back into supervised accommodation after claims he was plotting to flee the state were discredited.
Fardon, 65, was arrested at his supervised housing in Brisbane and returned to prison on September 2 amid fears he was planning to escape to NSW.
Authorities were alerted to the apparent plan by sex offender Robert Riddler, who lives in the same Wacol complex, who told a manager Fardon had up to $2000 in a bank account and wanted Riddler to source a car and drive him to the Gold Coast region.
Queensland’s attorney-general applied to keep Fardon locked up or amend his supervision order but the case fell over in court on Tuesday after the attorney-general was unable to produce any evidence of an escape plan.
“It was hoped for today some evidence in a direct form of those facts would be able to be obtained. Efforts were made to do that but it has not been available,” barrister Jonathan Horton, for Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, told the Brisbane Supreme Court.
Fardon sat quietly in the dock as Mr Horton admitted the source of the escape fears was unreliable and asked Justice Peter Lyons to excuse Riddler and another of Fardon’s associates from subpoenas requiring them to give evidence.
“Ethically I’m not in a position to take the application further today in any way,” he said.
Fardon’s barrister Dan O’Gorman immediately applied for the attorney-general to pay Fardon’s legal costs, saying an email trail showed authorities knew Riddler was of “questionable reliance”.
Mr O’Gorman said the acting manager of the supervised facility Andrew Wilson had described Riddler as “grandiose in his role as snitch” and someone who provided information at times of increased pressure.
“The attorney-general should have exercised more care before bringing these proceedings,” Mr O’Gorman said.
Justice Lyons ordered Fardon be released and said he would decide on costs later.
Mr Bleijie defended prison authorities who he said had moved to protect families from the serial sex offender.
Fardon has spent most of his adult life in jail for sex crimes against women and children.
In 2003, he became the first person to be jailed indefinitely under the state’s Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act.
He was freed last December into supervised accommodation only after a protracted legal battle by Mr Bleijie to keep him behind bars failed.
Fardon will return to his strict supervision order, which includes wearing a GPS tracker and remaining under a 24-hour curfew.
SERIAL RAPIST ROBERT FARDON’S LIFE OF CRIME
1967 – Convicted at 18 for attempted carnal knowledge of a girl under 10. Released on a good behaviour bond.
1978 – Raped a 12-year-old girl, wounded her sister. Fled to the Northern Territory but was caught and jailed.
1988 – Broke parole by travelling to Townsville. Violently raped and assaulted a woman. Sent back to jail.
2003 – Became the first person in Queensland to be jailed indefinitely under new laws targeting repeat sex offenders.
2006 – Released on a supervision order with 32 conditions.
2007 – Breached the order by attending a school, breaching curfew and travelling to Townsville. Brief return to prison.
2008 – Imprisoned after rape claims by a 61-year-old intellectually disabled woman. Fardon later acquitted.
2013, Dec – Released on a supervision order after a three-year legal battle.
2014, Sept 2 – Imprisoned again after an associate claimed Fardon was planning to escape.
2014, Sept 16 – Court orders Fardon’s release back to supervised accommodation after associate found to be unreliable.