Queensland’s attorney-general has vowed to strengthen sex offender laws after the High Court ruled two pedophiles could be jailed indefinitely.
Two serial pedophiles will stay behind bars indefinitely after their challenge to longstanding Queensland laws failed in the High Court.
Sex predators Edward Pollentine and Errol George Radan launched their legal challenge late last year, after spending nearly three decades behind bars.
They are both serving time for a series of sex offences committed against children during the 1980s and have been kept away from society under 1945 laws allowing indefinite detention.
The men argued these laws were incompatible with an independent and impartial court system.
But the High Court on Thursday unanimously upheld that they could be detained under section 18 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
Under those 1945 laws, a judge can sentence offenders to indefinite jail terms, based on reports from at least two psychiatrists that someone is incapable of exercising proper control over their sexual instincts.
Someone sentenced to indefinite detention can only be released when the state governor is convinced an offender can return to the community, again based on a report by two doctors.
The High Court judgment said the courts had full discretion on whether to impose such a sentence and there were safeguards, including judicial review.
Following that verdict, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie indicated the Queensland government would proceed with tougher sex offender laws.
“The government has implemented some of Australia’s strongest laws targeting sex offenders and we are currently reviewing the state’s dangerous sex offender legislation with a view to strengthening it even further,” he said in a statement to AAP on Thursday.
In October last year, the government introduced laws giving the attorney-general the power to keep hardcore sex offenders in jail indefinitely.
That law overrode the 1945 laws, requiring the opinion of two medical professionals.
But in December, Queensland’s Court of Appeal declared them as invalid.
The state reverted to the 1945 laws, which Pollentine and Radan challenged.
In July 1984, Pollentine, now 55, pleaded guilty in the District Court of Queensland to 14 sexual offences against four different children between January and April 1984.
The judge imposed no specific sentence, directing that he be detained indefinitely.
In May 1984, Radan, now 75, pleaded guilty to eight sex offences committed against two children between February 1982 and October 1983. He actively sought indefinite detention so he might receive treatment.
He was sentenced to 12 years jail, subsequently reduced to three years – although the indefinite sentence remained.
Over the years, Pollentine sought a review of his sentence which was consistently rejected.