News

Release sex offenders list: MP

TOUGH STANCE: Tweed MP Geoff Provest has no sympathy for sex offenders and wants their addresses released to the public. Photo: John Gass TWE010811pro
TOUGH STANCE: Tweed MP Geoff Provest has no sympathy for sex offenders and wants their addresses released to the public. Photo: John Gass TWE010811pro

TWEED MP Geoff Provest wants a register of sex offenders released to the public so Tweed residents "know who their neighbours are".

The comments come after Mr Provest voted in support of proposed NSW legislation that would re- strict serious offenders from legally changing their names without permission from the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner of Corrective Services.

Mr Provest says restricting name changes isn't enough; he wants complete transparency.

"I'd be concerned if these people were living down the road," Mr Provest told the Daily News.

"I have very little sympathy for them; the scars they leave are forever."

While court prosecutions of sex offenders are publicised, only police officers are made aware of the offender's address after release from prison.

Mr Provest said he understood it was not as simple as just releasing a list to the public, but something had to be done.

"We have to protect our children," Mr Provest said.

"We need further discussion on this. What do we do with them?

"The chance of rehabilitation for many of them is limited."

Mr Provest cited a case earlier this year when a Kempsey woman realised convicted child killer Austin Allan Hughes was living with her family and dating her daughter under his new name Blain Lopez Smith.

Hughes had been released from prison in December 2009 after serving 16 years for the brutal murder of a six-year-old boy.

He has since been charged with breaching the Child Protection Act.

"Too often, repeat offenders have changed their name, slipped back into the community and committed the same crime for which they were sentenced," Mr Provest said.

"It is a sad fact that there are some serious criminals who, despite all best efforts to rehabilitate them, simply sit out their sentence with the full intention of reoffending upon their release."

However the NSW Council of Civil Liberties doesn't share Mr Provest's view.

Spokesman David Bernie said releasing the addresses of convicted sex offend- ers would only encourage people to take the law into their own hands.

"The release of this information has led to some pretty awful vigilante action," Mr Bernie said.

"I have very little sympathy for them, the scars they leave are forever."

Topics:  geoff provest list sex offenders



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