Queensland’s attorney-general is appealing the release of 1980s rapist and killer Mark Lawrence on the grounds he can’t be supervised on the outside.
A convicted killer and rapist who has been in jail for 30 years should stay there because adequate supervision cannot be guaranteed to protect the community, Queensland’s solicitor-general says.
Mark Richard Lawrence, 52, was to have been released from prison in early May after doing time for the 1983 manslaughter of a female psychiatric patient and the 1999 rape of a fellow inmate.
Supreme Court justice Philip McMurdo decided he wouldn’t be a danger to the community if he was released under strict supervision.
But Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie appealed that decision.
Appearing before the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, Solicitor-General Peter Dunning, QC, said Justice McMurdo had not adequately identified how a supervision order would protect society from a man who still harboured sadistic, sexual fantasies.
“There’s an absence of rationality how that might work,” he said.
“There’s an absence of legal explanation as to how a release on supervision might achieve the protection the community calls for.”
Court of Appeal Justice Philip Morrison said Mr Dunning’s argument was “going dangerously close” to suggesting no program could manage the risks associated with Lawrence’s sexual fantasies.
Lawrence’s legal counsel John Allen said age had modified his client’s anti-social tendencies, adding that psychologists could communicate with corrective services officers.
“We’re dealing with someone now in his mid-fifties,” he said.
“He was 22 when he committed the indictable offence and in that respect, we’re dealing with a significantly different individual.
“They all mature as they get older.”
Lawrence was convicted of assaulting children in 1978 and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment at Brisbane’s old Wolston Park Hospital.
In 1983, he and another patient killed a female patient by cutting her throat with a broken bottle, leading to a manslaughter conviction on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
In 2002, he was sentenced to seven years jail for raping a fellow prisoner in late 1999.
The Court of Appeal’s three justices hearing the matter have reserved their judgment.
The stay on Lawrence’s release was extended until Thursday, when the case was adjourned until.