No more letters from rapists to victims
ATTORNEY-General Jarrod Bleijie has moved to close a loophole in the law which allowed a convicted child rapist to send his young Sunshine Coast victim a love letter from behind bars.
The move comes in direct response to a series of articles published earlier this year in the Sunshine Coast Daily which highlighted the loophole and the boy's mother's disgust and trauma at it being allowed to happen.
Christopher John McCoy, 21, pleaded guilty in the Maroochydore District Court in January to recording himself committing sex acts on the young boy and was subsequently jailed for nine months.
He then had the gall and audacity to send his then eight-year-old victim a letter from jail in which he said he loved him and outlined how much he was suffering inside prison.
But under changes to the Corrective Services Act, introduced into State Parliament on Wednesday, it is now illegal for any prisoner to send, or attempt to send, distressing or traumatic correspondence to their victim or their victim's family.
Correspondence includes any documents, letters, emails or faxes.
The new offence now carries a sentence of up to six months behind bars.
The Sunshine Coast mother, who cannot be identified in order to protect her son's identity, said on Thursday she was extremely pleased the loophole had been closed.
The boy's mother, talking exclusively to APN Newsdesk, said she was relieved her family's plight, and especially that of her son, had led to legislative changes.
"It is a great result. It is a pity we had to go through it all, but it is awesome no other Queensland victim or their family will have to go through the type of distress and trauma that we did," she said.
"Honestly . . . I am pretty happy about it.
"I am very pleased there is now a jail sentence attached to the offence and the loophole had been closed."
Mr Bleijie said he was shocked as everyone else when he found out via the Sunshine Coast Daily articles in May that McCoy had sent a letter to his young victim.
He said it was his duty to ensure Queensland families remained safe from predators from both inside and outside of prison.
"Victims of crime have already been through enough and they do not deserve to be haunted by someone behind bars who has been convicted of serious crimes," he said.
"Many of the amendments I introduced this week are the result of everyday Queenslanders highlighting to the government unacceptable gaps and inadequacies in the system and we listened.
"I will continue to consult with victims and Queenslanders about further reforms that restore fairness to the system."
Breavehearts founder Hetty Johnston said she was thrilled the government had responded to the community outrage McCoy sparked and introduced legislation that better protects survivors of this type of crime.
"One can only imagine how traumatising and triggering it would be for a victim to receive unwanted correspondence from an offender," she said.
"It is another attempt to manipulate and disempower them.
"This is a sensible, logical outcome, a win for victims and hopefully a deterrent for offenders."
McCoy was released on parole last month and currently lives in Toowoomba.
- APN NEWSDESK