The Berejiklian Government was asleep at the wheel when it allowed the time in which to lodge an appeal against the lenient sentence of a child sex offender in Dubbo lapse by a matter of months and it is still failing to act.

Labor says the Attorney General can still lodge an appeal against a man convicted of sex offences against children, despite his protestations in Parliament that he was unable to act.

The Criminal Appeal Act 1912 and the Criminal Appeal Rules specifically allow the Attorney General to appeal against a sentence. The Criminal Appeal Rules specify a three month period for an appeal to be lodged. Even though the Attorney General has missed this deadline, the Rules provide for an extension by the court.

The Attorney General is failing to act, despite the manifestly unjust sentence handed down in a Dubbo court by one of his judges back in June.

The sex offender got off with a two-year suspended sentence, despite being found guilty of ten charges of child sex abuse. Reasons given for the light sentence included his high cholesterol, sleeping disorders and because his farm was hit by drought.

In Parliament today, Attorney General Mark Speakman refused to admit that he was responsible for dropping the ball and failing to lodge an appeal, as is his right as the state’s chief lawmaker. 

He said it was up to the Director of Public Prosecutions to initiate an appeal and lift the suppression order on the names that prevent the culprit being named.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“The law allows the Attorney General to take action. I am completely mystified as to why Mr Speakman won’t act in this case.

“It looks as though the Attorney General was asleep at the wheel here. The sex offender has got off with a manifestly inadequate sentence and Mr Speakman is doing nothing when the law allows him to act.

“The citizens of Dubbo and the victims who have been through so much will take cold comfort from the Attorney General’s weasel words around responsibility.

“The buck stops with him; he could lodge an appeal and bring some much needed common sense to sentencing and some relief to the families.”