Serious sex offenders – Detention orders 2

The latest orders made under this legislation  are reported in the press here.  See also my previous post.

Pending final determination of the application, Mr Tillman is now subject to a series of rolling detention orders, although at least the plan at present is that the Attorney-General’s application for a 5-year detention order will be heard within the period of the next 28 days, though obviously not necessariy determined.

Two aspects of the application ring a particularly grim note.

First, the crown argued that, once an interim detention order had been made, the court only had the power to make a further detention order – that is, it could not decide that in fact an interim supervision order would be sufficient would suffice.

Secondly, for the period Tillman had been let out on a supervision (the first judge who heard the application  considered that this would be sufficient and Tillman spent some time at large under supervision until the Court of Appeal reversed this decision and put him back inside) he was subject to particularly rigorous physical surveilance.  One would have thought that the capacity of the government to undertake such supervision would have been relevant to the question of whether supervision, as opposed to detention, was an appropriate approach.

The crown said that this was not relevant, and resisted even the admission of evidence of the surveillance which it had undertaken.  In the end, Justice Bell admitted the evidence, but said:

“I do not draw the inference that if the defendant were released on an interim supervision order he would be subject to constant physical surveillance. I do not know what, if any, measures the Commissioner of Corrective Services would implement in this respect.”


“Section 11 of the Act provides that an interim supervision order may direct an offender to comply with such conditions as the Court considers appropriate, including (but not limited to) directions requiring the offender to do or refrain from doing the things specified in subparas (a) to (j). It was not suggested that the Court’s powers to impose conditions on an interim supervision order would extend to a condition having the effect of subjecting the offender to 24-hour physical surveillance.”

That’s right.  The man is locked up because Corrective Services won’t tell the court and therefore the court doesn’t know what steps (beyond the conditions which could be imposed by the court on the applicant) the department could (or would) take so that supervision might in fact be adequate to prevent him from reoffending in the interim period.

One Response to “Serious sex offenders – Detention orders 2”

  1. Legal Eagle Says:

    That is exactly the concern I have with these kind of orders. Corrective Services obviously did have the facility to look after this man, but it’s cheaper to just lock him up indefinitely…

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