Backlash on decision to release sex offender

Justice Anthony Derrick had determined Edward Latimer was a “serious danger to the community”. Picture: iStock
Justice Anthony Derrick had determined Edward Latimer was a “serious danger to the community”. Picture: iStock

THE decision to release a “dangerous” sex offender under 52 court conditions, including allowing him to meet with sex workers, has received backlash.

A WA Supreme Court judge ruled for the release of Edward William Latimer, 61, under a 10-year supervision order with 52 conditions including no alcohol or porn, and no access to sex workers without approval.

Justice Anthony Derrick had determined Latimer was a “serious danger to the community” but said the risk could be managed in the community in his judgment on Tuesday.

“Access to sex workers will not of itself resolve the issue of the respondent’s ability to manage his sexual urges … (but) the option for the respondent to engage in regular, albeit infrequent, sexual contact should serve as an additional protective factor,” he said.

The Supreme Court of WA judgment was delivered on Tuesday. Picture: Stock image.
Women’s Community Health network executive officer Alison Evans said there was a disturbing assumption Latimer’s sexual urges towards women were somehow out of his control and he was entitled to access a woman’s body to meet his urges.

“At a time when we are trying to reduce violence against women and children and promote respectful relationships, this is a very disturbing message to be sending both the community and perpetrators of sexual violence,” she said.

Sex worker support project and advocacy organisation Magenta also spoke out about the judgment.

“Prescribing sex workers to a violent sex offender places workers in danger, and lacks an understanding of sexual consent,” Manager Lena Van Hale said.

“It’s a sex worker’s right to self-determine which clients they see, and it’s not their responsibility to fix sexual predators or have them as clients.”

Opposition spokesman Nick Goiran said the decision was a “kick in the guts to victims of sexual abuse” and has urged Attorney-General John Quigley to intervene.

Attorney-General John Quigley.

But Mr Quigley said he would not “quibble” with the judge’s decision and saw nothing in the judgment which was appealable.

“I’m confident that if he looks like reoffending, they’re going to collar him and put him back in, same as they did before,” he said.

Latimer is the first WA sex offender to be indefinitely imprisoned under the dangerous sex offender legislation introduced by Labor in 2006.

— If you need to talk to someone, call:

  • Lifeline 24/7 crisis support service on 13 11 14
  • Sexual Assault Resource Centre 24hr line on (08) 6458 1828 or free call 1800 199 888
  • National Sexual Assault Support free 24/7 line on 1800 737 732

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