Royal Gazette:-Details of sex offenders will not be put on a public register, the Attorney-General said yesterday.
Kathy Lynn Simmons added that some members of the public saw a public register with details of convictions and offender photographs as an “easy solution”, but the law would not allow it.
She said: “Let me be clear, our laws would not permit this, and I believe it would not be in the interest of the public for such a complex matter to be given such a simplistic solution.”
Ms Simmons added: “The range and circumstances of these offences are such that the most serious offenders should be identified differently from those that pose less danger to the public.”
The Attorney-General said that the release of sex offender information was aimed at protecting members of the public and cutting the risk of reoffending.
She added that any information released must be designed to not cause further harm to victims of sex offences.
Ms Simmons said that decision on which offenders would have information released would ultimately be hers and would be informed by a risk assessment from the Department of Corrections and in consultation with the Commissioner of Police.
Ms Simmons was speaking as she outlined key proposals from the Throne Speech.
She did not reveal how details on sex offender information would be provided.
Ms Simmons said: “That will be revealed in further communication with the media and the public.”
The Attorney-General also used the press conference to discuss Throne Speech plans for child support payments and legal aid reform.
It was revealed in the Throne Speech that outstanding child support payments totalled nearly $47 million for more than 1,800 cases, with some of the files dating back almost 40 years.
Ms Simmons said: “This means that there is an average of $25,385 owing per case.”
She added that the most successful methods of arrears enforcement were “regular phone calls and warning letters, attachment of earnings, committal to prison and travel restrictions”.
Ms Simmons said two main problems had to be tackled to improve payment statistics: the compilation of accurate data, and “the shortfall of human resources needed to administer child support orders”.
Ms Simmons said one enforcement officer was responsible for the administration of all the outstanding cases.
She added: “This raises a glaring human resources shortfall in the system.”
Ms Simmons said: “The public need to be assured that we will be addressing this from a resource and systemic perspective. If we find that there is a need to redirect resources in that regard, we certainly will consider it.”
Ms Simmons said that the priority for legal aid was to maintain its availability while controlling costs. She added it would need changes to the Legal Aid Act and allocation of resources to allow for more cases to be dealt with by on-staff legal aid counsel, rather than the use of outside lawyers.
She said the main goal of all three proposals was designed to “ensure the protection and wellbeing of affected members of our society, namely victims of sex offenders, children in need of financial support, and those unable to afford legal services”.