The NSW Government’s proposed new penalties for concealing Child Sex Offences are nothing short of an insult to survivors and make a mockery of the Royal Commission.
This might seem like a harsh statement but the fact is, if convicted paedophile protector Philip Wilson was subject to these proposed new sentences, he would be in no more trouble than what he is in right now. This clearly shows that the NSW Government, for all its talk, has either learned nothing or it simply doesn’t care.
Under the current legislation, Wilson faced a maximum of only two years in prison, he was sentenced to 12 months with a six month non parole period, potentially to be served as home detention. The community is rightfully disgusted at the leniency of the sentence but to add insult to injury the sentence is now being appealed because Wilson’s defence considers it too harsh.
If anything, this ridiculous situation should be motivation for the NSW Government to respond to the community’s expectation that the degree of criminality be reflected in the sentence. It’s a perfect opportunity to introduce a penalty that will be a true deterrent.
Tragically, that is not what’s happening, in fact nothing is really going to change at all if this sentencing procedure is accepted.
The new sentence is still only two years, unless a benefit is solicited or received for the concealment, in which case the penalty is increased from three to five years but this would never have applied to Wilson or any of the other corrupt clergy identified in the Royal Commission as paedophile protectors.
What has gone wrong in the thinking of our State Government? Don’t they understand what the Royal Commission uncovered? Don’t they care?
If the paedophile priests, ministers and pastors had not been protected by criminals like Wilson, then hundreds, possibly thousands of innocent children never would have suffered in the first place. Everyone else seems to understand this, why doesn’t the Government?
The institutional church has a lot to answer for but so too will the NSW Government if they don’t up the ante when it comes to concealing Child Sex Crimes. There is an election just around the corner in March 2019 and if the Opposition lay hold of the seriousness of this matter and take the appropriate stand then the people of NSW may well be sending a clear message of their own.