Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Convicted Sex Offenders should be searched without a warrant

My question is for the Minister for Training and Skills, through the Attorney-General, representing the Minister for Police. I have become aware of a deficiency in the sex offender register, and it is not just that the register is not public. It seems that there is no power of entry without a warrant for a sexual offender case manager to enter premises or to search and seize if there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity occurring, including a registered sex offender concealing images on a mobile phone. Presently police can apply for a search warrant through the Magistrates Court, but this takes time. Section 459 of the Crimes Act 1958 allows for entry but only if a crime is being committed at that time, and again there is substantial evidence that needs to be gathered. This is ineffective if a paedophile decides to throw the phone out, hide the computers or otherwise destroy evidence. Minister, will your government investigate implementing these additional powers of entry and search and seizure powers for convicted child sex offenders whilst they remain on the register?

Thanks, Attorney. I appreciate that. If you are driving and you get pulled over and there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, you can have your car searched, which could potentially be conducted by a police officer of low rank. The subject of a firearm prohibition order can be searched or have their house searched if it is reasonably required to determine if they possess a gun or similar, so why is it that convicted child sex offenders, class 1 and class 2 perpetrators on the register, cannot have their computers, phones or homes searched without warrant if there is a reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed? I have heard that in one instance a case manager had intel about a sex offender accessing child abuse material on his phone, but there was not enough evidence for a warrant. When the perpetrator died they found he had been accessing material for years. I could quote a number of other instances where a suspicion has later been deemed a reality. Minister, why is there a double standard in our laws in this aspect when it comes to police powers of entry and search and seizure?


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