EDITORIAL: Rejoice, for a paedophile is well paid


The do-gooders in our midst will, no doubt, have been clapping their hands with glee after the announcement this week that Barry Brown had been awarded $25,000 damages for invasion of his privacy.
The convicted paedophile sued the police in Wellington District Court after police circulated leaflets including his photograph, description and information about his criminal past to residents of a Wellington suburb.
Mr Brown's lawyer, Dale La Hood, issued a statement on behalf of his client, who, he said, was pleased with the decision in which his right to privacy was upheld.
The police officer who made the call to issue the information may have failed to follow the letter of internal guidelines before carrying out the leaflet drop, but what was his motivation?
He was concerned because of Brown's location - there were schools, playgrounds, a playcentre and reasonably dense undergrowth nearby, a lack of support for the paedophile and the serious nature of his previous offending. The experienced officer also had the impression that Brown was devious and shifty.
Brown had convictions for sexual offences dating back to 1982. His most recent one was in 1998, when he was sentenced to five years' jail for kidnapping and indecently assaulting a five-year-old boy.
The paedophile's lawyer said, "It can only be hoped that the public take the right message from this decision, namely that the law is there to protect everyone, not just those whom the majority consider to be deserving of its protection.
"Whilst Mr Brown must accept that he has created victims in his past, in this case he was the victim."
That may be so, but how will the Lotto-like payout make his kidnap and assault victim, now aged 13, feel? Will he have received $25,000 from the public purse for the anguish and suffering he suffered at the hands of a pervert? Or will he receive a single cent from his attacker's windfall?
The Sensible Sentencing organisation is just about to mark five years of fighting for victims and for adequate punishment for serious offenders.

They have been shouting from the rooftops, begging to be heard. Sadly, the case of Barry Brown shows clearly that our politicians are still not listening.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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