Being convicted of sexual assault can have lasting and damaging effects long after the case is closed. This rings especially true when the perpetrator looks to re-enter employment. As the applicant in the below case shows, the court must deem the person fit to work before giving the green light. However, as demonstrated, sometimes this can be difficult.
Background of the case
The applicant was a health professional seeking a working with children check so he could continue practising in his area of expertise.
In 2004, the applicant was charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of indecent assault against his stepdaughter. The alleged conduct reportedly took place 20 years prior to the hearing when she was around nine years of age. However, the applicant was acquitted at this trial. Despite being freed of these criminal charges more than a decade ago, the Children's Guardian refused to grant the applicant with a clearance.
This decision led the applicant to submit a review of this decision through the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012.
Assessing the allegations
The applicant's former stepdaughter claims he sexually and indecently assaulted her in bed at night, whilst her brother was in a bed nearby. She told school friends, her mother and then the police.
Despite giving evidence at a subsequent trial, there were no transcripts or tapes of such evidence, nor was the stepdaughter called as a witness in proceedings.
Furthermore, the stepson, who shared a bedroom with the stepdaughter, informed police he didn't see or hear any abuse.
Did the applicant pose a threat to children?
Without a trial transcript, recording or the stepdaughter to give evidence, the court could not confirm that the alleged sexual abuse took place. This was made harder by the applicant's previous acquittal. Instead, they were left to consider whether they believed suspicion remained as to whether he could pose a threat to children in the future.
The court called upon a report conducted by a psychiatrist in October 2018. The doctor did not diagnose the applicant as suffering from a paedophilic disorder, or consider him to have any specific or significant paedophilic tendencies.
Furthermore, the applicant had no criminal record and was noted as being a caring and loving father to his own children. Therefore, the court found that the applicant did not pose a risk to the safety of children and was granted a working with children check clearance.
If you're the victim of sexual abuse, it's never too late to seek justice. The team at Gerard Malouf & Partners are experts in sensitive matters and can help you receive compensation for your trauma. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.