Friday, August 31, 2012

UK - Ruling allows sex register appeals

Original Article


Sex offenders can appeal against having to register with police for life from Saturday, despite concerns raised by a children's charity that they must "always be considered a risk".

Thousands of sex offenders will be able to apply to have their names removed after the Supreme Court ruled it was a breach of offenders' human rights to be put on the register for life with no review.

The Government has already expressed concern about the plans, with Home Secretary Theresa May saying "the minimum possible changes to the law" would be made.

Currently prisoners have to wait 15 years after being released from jail to be able to apply to be removed from the register. Saturday marks 15 years since sex offenders were first required to register with police.

Chief executive of the NSPCC Andrew Flanagan said: "This is a concerning day for our justice system. Sadly, we are told this legal ruling cannot be overturned but the NSPCC's view remains that paedophiles who have been put on the sex offender register for life must remain there as we can never be sure their behaviour will change."

"There is no proven or recognised 'cure' for adult sex offenders who abuse children and they must therefore always be considered a risk. We can only try to control and contain their behaviour through a combination of treatment and monitoring by the authorities if they are released back into the community."

"Physical and emotional harm caused by sexual abuse can damage children's lives. We will monitor the appeals process closely and will raise concerns if we believe the civil liberties of convicted sex offenders are being put before the protection of children."

The maximum number of sex offenders eligible for a review each year was estimated at 1,200 by the Government. Individual police forces will consider applications.

Plans were outlined by Mrs May last year to toughen up registration requirements for sex offenders after the Supreme Court ruling. They included having to tell authorities before travelling abroad even for a day, reporting if they were living with children and tightening rules to stop offenders avoiding registering after changing their name.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are doing everything we can to protect the public from predatory sex offenders. That is why we have taken action to strengthen the law and close loopholes. The review process for offenders is robust and puts public protection first. It also prevents sex offenders from wasting taxpayers' money by repeatedly challenging our laws. Sex offenders who continue to pose a risk will remain on the register for life."

CA - Bill passes to keep mentally ill sex predators off California streets

Original Article


By Mike Rosenberg

SACRAMENTO -- Hoping to keep more than 100 mentally ill violent sexual predators from roaming California's streets, the Legislature on Thursday passed a bill designed to solve a new problem that's tying judges' hands.

When their time in prison is up, sex criminals who are deemed mentally ill -- and likely to strike again -- are ordered to a state protective hospital instead of being released. But psychologists who make these determinations have been removing themselves from cases after state mental health officials in April forced them to do the job full time or not at all. That's left authorities with no way to prove a sex criminal is mentally ill, since current law does not allow authorities to replace psychologists who resign.

But SB 760 (PDF), which unanimously cleared the Senate on Wednesday and is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk, would allow for replacement psychologists to come in immediately. They're needed quickly: Already, two sex criminals have been released in Southern California after their psychological evaluators quit, with another case pending in Santa Clara County, two more in Alameda County and 130 others around the state.

They could be "going back on the streets and raping people. It's very sad," state Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara, the bill's author, said on the Senate floor following the bill's passage. "It's a common sense solution to a very heinous problem."

UK - Councillor demands to know identities of sex offenders in Windsor

Tom and Cat Bursnall
Original Article


By Richard Cutcher

The names and addresses of paedophiles could be made available to the public after a councillor's demands for information on offenders living on his doorstep.
- Not everyone on the registries are pedophiles.

Councillor Tom Bursnall, of Clewer East ward, is writing to police to request information on all known sex offenders living in his and bordering wards.

The UK Independence Party councillor told The Observer: "I demand to know every single sex offender who is living on our doorstep."

"With respect to the police and the local agencies that are involved with keeping an eye on convicted offenders, I do not have the faith they can keep track of these people."

The father-of-one was motivated to make the request after reading the case of [name withheld] - a 61-year-old former resident of Barry Avenue, Windsor, who was jailed for 22 months on Friday, August 10, after pleading guilty to three counts of assaulting a girl in the early 1980s.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of making indecent images between January 1, 2008, and October 25, 2011, at an address in Pococks Lane, Eton.

Cllr Bursnall added if police provided the information he would hand it over to community groups that work with children - such as Scouts, sports clubs and nurseries - so they are aware of any 'dangerous' people living in the area.
- So who is to decide if they are 'dangerous' or not?  Mr. Bursnall?  Just because someone is on the registry doesn't mean they are a danger to kids or anybody else for that matter.

'Sarah's Law', which came into effect in April last year, allows worried parents to check on anyone who has regular access to their children.

In its first year, the law exposed the identities of more than 160 child sex offenders after 900 formal applications to police.

Cllr Phill Bicknell, of Park ward, backed his former fellow Conservative's demand for information.

He said: "He has got a good point. I have been involved with Scouts all my life and I am very much on the side of youth and we should protect them."
- Who isn't?  But naming and shaming people will not protect kids or anybody else, it's just a false sense of security.

"I have four children of my own and if a sex offender ever touched one of my children I don't think I would be responsible for my actions."
- You would be responsible for your actions!

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said: "Any correspondence with the councillor concerned would be a private matter and we do not think it is appropriate to comment further at this stage."