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Ferguson to stay – at least for now

17 September, 2009

The ABC reports that Ferguson will be able to remain in his home. I wonder how the residents will respond to this news?

Convicted paedophile Dennis Ferguson is to stay in his north-west Sydney home after reaching a deal with the New South Wales Government.

The Housing Minister and Ferguson’s neighbours in Ryde have been demanding he be moved from his public housing unit block.

Ferguson’s advocate Brett Collins says the State Government has accepted that the convicted sex offender has a right to stay in his home.

However Ferguson has agreed to be flexible and go to alternative accommodation at times of high tension such as that of recent days.

Mr Collins says a community forum to discuss the issue of sex offenders will be held at a later date.

Not surprising given this earlier report:

Barrister Greg Barnes from the Australian Lawyers Alliance says relocating Ferguson could set a dangerous precedent.

And he says Ferguson will be entitled to compensation if he is forced to move.

“The basic principle [for] everyone in New South Wales, in every state in Australia, is that if you are living in a house and you are abiding by the law, then governments have no business in moving you to another area,” Mr Barnes said.

“This is a policy that we would have expected to see in apartheid South Africa or in authoritarian countries, not in a democracy.

“Now there’s no evidence that Mr Ferguson is breaking the law residing as he does in Ryde, and simply because a few community vigilantes want him moved on doesn’t mean that our politicians should buckle to their pressure, “Mr Barnes continued.

“I don’t know of any law in New South Wales or any law around Australia which entitles governments to capriciously simply move people from one house to another on the basis of the complaints of a few vigilantes in a community.”

Mr Barnes says the way the community has reacted to Ferguson is the worst thing they could have done.

“If the New South Wales Government and the opposition parties and the community in Ryde were serious about reducing the possibility of recidivism by paedophiles, they wouldn’t be setting this sort of example,” he said.

“The worst thing you can do with child sex offenders is to continue to stigmatise and demonise them and shun them from society, because if you do that, they’re much more likely to commit an offence.

“So by setting this example, effectively the New South Wales Government and the Opposition and those members of the Ryde community who support them are effectively saying, ‘we don’t care, we run the risk of increasing recidivism for paedophiles in New South Wales’.”

I had previously mentioned in comments that Hetty Johnston had said something sensible but as it turns out that was only a small part of her overall position.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 17 September, 2009 5:54 pm

    perhaps the easiest solution for any government is to place offenders in safe opposition electorates 🙂
    surely less political pressure to buckle to the pressure to relocate them again and again.

  2. 17 September, 2009 6:14 pm

    I think it might be. Actually I read in an article from about a year ago, at the time of the Carbrook shame, that the guy from the Justice Action group was telling Dennis to come on down.

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  1. Dennis’ Law « OzPolitik

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