Deboo Appeal 2019
Wednesday 3 July, 2019
As some of you may remember, I moved
a motion last year regarding the importance of National Child Protection Week.
On that occasion I took the opportunity to highlight some of the absolutely
harrowing figures relating to Australian children who have suffered abuse,
neglect, child maltreatment, or some other harm at the hands of those who
should have protected them.
I rise today to speak to the
Judgment, handed down by the Court of Criminal Appeal on Monday, in relation to
the sentencing of convicted paedophile, Vivian Frederick Deboo. For those of
you who may not remember, Mr Deboo last year plead guilty to six counts of
offences of a sexual nature, committed against two boys aged 13 and 11. This
followed an earlier conviction in 1996 where Mr Deboo was found guilty of nine
counts of indecent assault and one count of unlawful sexual intercourse against
three other young men.
The despicable and unforgivable
crimes committed by this man have imposed on his victims, a life sentence in
which they will carry with them the weight of these horrific actions for the
rest of their lives. On December 4 of last year, Deboo was sentenced to a total
of 6 years, 7 months and 6 days imprisonment for offences against the two
brothers, now known as A and B. Compared to the lifetime of grief and suffering
the brothers are faced with, Deboo considered his sentence “Manifestly
Excessive”. In addition to this, he filed an appeal to serve out his sentence
on home detention, claiming that due to his “advanced age” and “self-reports of
diminished libido and sexual interest” he no longer posed an appreciable risk
to the safety of the community. Fortunately, the Court of Appeal did not agree
and his appeal was dismissed on Monday, earlier this week.
I commend the Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss Mr Deboo’s appeal, and his outrageous
attempts to evade the punishment imposed on him. Child abuse and crimes
committed by paedophiles such as Deboo, have a lifelong traumatic impact on
victims, affecting their ongoing mental wellbeing. In some tragic cases, child
abuse leads to victims taking their own lives.
If there is a silver lining, or one positive outcome to result from the years
of offending by this man, it is the gracious and courageous response of both
brother A and B following Deboo’s sentencing. The two men are now using this terrible
experience to raise awareness about child sexual abuse on a national level.
There are approximately 1.4 million Australians suffering from the abuse of
paedophiles. 1.4million. Out
of a population of only 25 million, those numbers alone are staggering.
In recognition of these alarming statistics and in the lead up to the appeal
decision, the brothers set up a “field of innocence” on Montefiore Hill. Along
with their family, the brothers created 1400 paper cut outs of boys and girls
to represent the 1.4 million Australian survivors. As stated in The Advertiser
on Monday 1 July, brother B said the aim of their efforts is that they hope all
members of the community ‘don’t walk past child abuse’. With 1.4 million
Australians suffering from abuse, the brothers believe that the issue should be
a top ‘public health priority’, and I agree. All victims are left forever changed
by their abusers, many suffering extensive mental health issues. The damage
this can have, on not just the abused individual, but those around them is
immense. As such, mental health issues which can arise from abuse, are not bound
to the victims alone. The toll of these crimes can wreak havoc on entire
families and communities.
Both of these men are valued members of our community and are now parents
themselves. Their goal now is to raise awareness in an effort to prevent any
child from being exposed to such abuse within Australia, into the future. I
fully support brothers A and B and commend them for their efforts. I applaud
their courageous behaviours and their efforts to make sure that our community
understands that this disgraceful behaviour that has happened in the past, and
still, sadly, happens today, should never be tolerated and should be punished
to the fullest extent of the law.