Sunday, May 25, 2008

New law allows the state to seize pedophiles' assets

CONVICTED pedophiles and rapists will have their assets frozen and then sold under an expansion of Western Australia's tough Criminal Confiscation Act.

Attorney-General Jim McGinty announced yesterday that eight properties had been seized, potentially yielding $5 million for victim support groups, police and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Another four properties are being considered for seizure.

Mr McGinty said he made no apologies for the confiscation act, which is discretionary and can be used while an alleged sex offender is still facing trial.

"The public is absolutely revolted by these offences, particularly those committed against innocent children," he said.

"We're going to make sure we use the full extent of the law to punish these perpetrators."

Mr McGinty said that in cases of incest, the family home would be protected.

"Clearly, where there is predatory behaviour by a pedophile, we won't hesitate to confiscate that property," he said.

"Where it is something which occurs within the family, we want to make sure that the victims are protected."

Mr McGinty said the act, previously aimed at drug traffickers, could be expanded to include other serious crimes, but sexual offences had become a priority.

One of the properties now frozen is that of veterinary surgeon Marcel Christiaan-Rauch, who drugged male teenagers with ketamine before sexually abusing them at his $1.7 million property in Roleystone .

Christiaan-Rauch committed suicide last year while awaiting trial on 53 pedophilia charges against nine teenagers.

Mr McGinty said a judge could not take into account the seizure of an offender's assets when sentencing.

He dismissed claims the law was open to abuse, and said it would only be used for very serious crimes.

"People who commit very serious crimes - pedophilia, drug trafficking - deserve to have the book thrown at them, and we make no apology for using the full force of the law to punish people who commit those very serious crimes," he said.

Mr McGinty said the proceeds from the asset confiscations would not be used for compensation for victims, but would be given to victim support groups, which have received millions of dollars since the program began in2003.

"The money is used indirectly to compensate victims," he said.

"It's more for paying to make the community safer, to support victim groups and to be able to take the money from the offenders and give it back to the people who are their victims."

The money is also used to fund the DPP confiscation team and partly to fund the police.

No comments: