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Sex Hit List For WA

THE State Government is drawing up a hit list of sex offenders and pedophiles it wants to keep in jail indefinitely.
Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk said the details of about 400 men and women jailed in WA for sex offences were being pored over by a special squad to determine which ones were too dangerous to be released because they were likely to commit more horrendous crimes on the outside.
In what will be a first for WA, the Attorney-General or the Director of Public Prosecutions will seek court orders that will keep serious sex offenders and pedophiles behind bars beyond their sentences, using the Dangerous Sexual Offenders Act.
The only other state to use a similar strategy is Queensland, where a serious sex offender was ordered behind bars indefinitely after the expiration of his 14-year sentence for raping and seriously injuring a woman in 1988.
Despite the decision being challenged by lawyers, the High Court ruled that the practice was not in breach of human rights.
WA Liberty and Justice spokesman Laurie Levy said yesterday the Act should be used only in exceptional circumstances.
But Ms Quirk said: "Sex offenders are a threat to the community and we will leave no stone unturned (to make the community safe).
"Where we can't be satisfied that the community will be safe if an offender is released, we will take these measures."
Liberal leader Paul Omodei said this week that law and order would be the No.1 issue at the next election.
Current sentences and practices were not tough enough to deter people from committing violent crimes and, if elected, he promised to introduce a sex register.
The would-be premier wants the names and locations of convicted sex offenders and pedophiles made public by displaying their details on the internet or in advertisements, following similar trends in the US.
He also promised a minimum mandatory jail term for child-sex offenders.
Mr Omodei's police and justice spokesman, Rob Johnson, said that in addition to a Liberal promise to name and shame sex offenders, the party would also consider introducing laws to chemically castrate "the monsters" if it won government.
Perth's Catholic Archbishop, Barry Hickey, said he was deeply concerned about the growing level of violence.
He said when sex offenders and pedophiles were released from jail, conditions should be set so they were not near children or schools.
Police should monitor their movements and have powers to shift them.
But he did not support a public sex register, fearing sex offenders and pedophiles would become isolated and commit more crimes if they were targeted by the community.

AAP (7-7-2006)

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