Child sex monsters face tougher checks under new laws
NEW laws which will give Queensland police unprecedented power to search the computers of convicted paedophiles have been welcomed by Bruce and Denise Morcombe.
Daniel Morcombe was killed by a twice convicted paedophile - a man who should never have been released back into the community following his shocking crimes.
Brett Peter Cowan, who abducted and murdered the 13-year-old on the Sunshine Coast in 2003, is a serial predator with an extensive history of sexually abusing children.
He told an inquest that by the time he turned 18 he had already preyed on up to 30 children.
Cowan was first convicted of a child sex offence in 1989 over the molestation of a seven-year-old boy in the public toilets of a Queensland playground.
On Thursday, Queensland Parliament passed the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill follows a review of existing laws by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said the laws allowed better early intervention, disruption and prevention of repeat child sexual offending.
"Police will now be able to closely monitor reportable offenders and prevent child sexual offending by granting them access to electronic devices, should they suspect a reportable offender has committed an offence under the offender reporting legislation.
"Police will also be given the power, in certain circumstances, to inspect any device in the possession of a reportable offender."
The legislation also provides the judiciary the power to determine a person a reportable offender, should they satisfy the applicable criteria.
"No longer will a person be able to escape this classification because they plead guilty to a lesser charge. We are committed to ensuring those who commit these atrocious crimes are held accountable for their actions," Minister Ryan said.
The bill also ends the process where perpetrators of sexual and other serious offences against children have been granted the opportunity to personally cross-examine their victims during civil proceedings.
"We cannot tolerate these children (and often adult victims of historical child abuse) being re-victimised and have removed this process.
" We have also reduced the period a reportable offender can travel interstate, as there is no excuse for a convicted child sex offender to be unaccounted for for extended periods of time," Mr Ryan said.
Further amendments have been made to reporting conditions, including ensuring reportable offenders provide and allow to be photographed, key personal details including tattoos, a new car purchase or a change in their appearance.
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said any initiatives that assisted officers on the front line would be welcomed.
Denise and Bruce Morcombe said being on the front foot to protect children was vital.
"Daniel was murdered by a twice convicted paedophile," Mr and Mrs Morcombe said.
"These planned measures are tough on predators and that is a good thing.
"It allows suspected child exploitation activity to be investigated swiftly, potentially reducing harm to our youngsters.
"The sharing of information between agencies that protect children will allow them to do the job they are commissioned to do unimpeded."
A Bravehearts spokesperson said Bravehearts wholeheartedly support the recommended amendments that are a step forward in ensuring that the authorities have the power to protect the community.
"Many of the recommendations will assist in the monitoring and management of offenders who, due to their criminal history, pose a level of ongoing risk.
"We recognise that there has to be an holistic approach to managing offenders' risk in the community and this Bill will certainly assist the authorities to be better equipped to do so."