Girl's family back bid to list sex offenders

The family of a six-year-old Tauranga girl who was sexually abused in March have applauded a Sensible Sentencing Trust move to list all known sex offenders and their addresses on a website.
Christopher David Davis was jailed for three years last month after violating the girl at his home in Papamoa.
But the girl's grandparents, who cannot be named, say if they had known Davis had prior convictions for sexual abuse, the girl's parents would not have allowed her to have a sleepover with the man's daughter.
"We had no idea he had been in jail for abusing little children. There should be some sort of register. He'll be out in three years and move in next to someone else," the Hawke's Bay couple said.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust, which currently lists details of hundreds of violent offenders on its website (www.safe-nz.org.nz), will start singling out sexual offenders in two to three weeks time and including their addresses where they are known.
Legal opinion for the trust said a recidivist offender could be named for previous offences even if he had name suppression for the latest offence.
They would take advice on each case but they intended the website listings to "push the boundaries" on naming people.
"I don't give a damn about the rights of the offender,"said trust spokesman, Garth McVicar.
"When you're dealing with the rights of a distraught mother, or a child who's been abused, you know where your loyalties lie. The warm fuzzy movement that's been promoting 'soft on crime and everyone deserves another opportunity' has had its day."
Act MP Deborah Coddington has published a book listing convicted paedophiles and sex offenders since 1996 and said while she had no problems with the trust's idea, the legal implications of getting information wrong was serious.
"I looked at putting my book on the web but the risks were too high," said Ms Coddington.
The expense of producing the register meant another edition was unlikely to be published.
She hoped her Sex Offenders Registry Bill would be law within the year.
"But that won't be the silver bullet.

Educating children to tell people when someone touches them, and that they will be believed, is paramount."
Mr McVicar said the trust would rely on victims to pass on judges' sentencing notes which included offenders' details.
"We will be cautious in every case. It is not about trying to get retribution. It is about holding offenders accountable and responsible and disclosing what their previous history has been."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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