Father calls on Government to act after paedophile’s High Court victory

Posted September 07, 2017 06:12:24

A man whose son was abused by Canberra paedophile Aaron James Holliday has called on the ACT Government to act, after a High Court victory could see him released by the end of the year.

Holliday was yesterday found by the High Court to have not broken the law when he encouraged a fellow inmate to find a “hitman” to kidnap key witnesses in Holliday’s upcoming trial.

Holliday had drafted an eight-page plan detailing how the witnesses would be forced to retract their evidence against him.

But the kidnapping never happened, when the prisoner reported him to authorities.

While the conviction of incitement to kidnap was not reinstated against Holliday by the High Court, he remains in prison for sex offences against three young boys and perverting the course of justice.

However with the incitement charges gone for good, Holliday will now likely be released by December.

The father of one of the children Holliday abused said he was utterly disappointed by the court’s decision.

“My view is the [ACT Legislative] Assembly needs to fix this straight away,” he said.

“The statute needs to be fixed.”

Loophole ‘absolutely ridiculous’

The father, who cannot be named to protect his son’s identity, called on the Government to close a loophole which meant Holliday’s actions in arranging the kidnapping did not constitute an offence.

“This appeal is concerned with a situation in which Person A incites Person B … to undertake a course of conduct that might ultimately result in Person C committing a substantive offence,” Justices Kiefel, Bell and Gordon explained in yesterday’s judgement.

As Holliday incited a fellow prisoner to procure another person to commit a crime, and the prisoner never followed through, the court found Holliday had not committed an incitement offence.

While Holliday’s conviction for incitement was struck out, he was convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

“It’s just absolutely ridiculous that it’s an offence because it might interfere with justice, but it’s not an offence because it could harm children,” the victim’s father said.

‘Very arguable case’ for change: Government

ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said he sympathised with the man’s position and would examine whether a law change was needed.

“I haven’t had the chance yet to read the High Court’s decision, but I certainly will be looking closely at the case, closely at the decision,” he said.

“I’ll be taking action to address any gaps that become apparent as a result of that.

“I think there’s certainly a very, very arguable case that this is a serious matter and is something that we need to be looking at to change the legislation.”

The boy’s father said Holliday would be eligible for release in December, and raised concerns he may not be properly monitored.

“He’s just going to be released cold,” he said.

“In other states there’s dangerous prisoners who, even if they don’t get parole, when they get released they can be under supervision, and that needs to happen in this case.”

Mr Ramsay said the Government was always open to improving laws, but the law would function as usual at Holliday’s release.

“When they are released they are released under the law as it is, and so that will be the case with this person, as is the case with any other person,” he said.

Topics: states-and-territories, courts-and-trials, sexual-offences, canberra-2600, act