Tasmanian ex MP will do no jail time for raping child – DPP’s decision vindicated

29 Nov

UPDATE: Terry Martin will not do jail time The DPP’s decision not to proceed with other prosecutions is vindicated by this result. The DPP predicted that anyone charged would either not be convicted, or if convicted would receive only minor sentence. 

Martin is  part of a class action against the makers of the drug claimed to have caused the hypersexualized behaviour Justice David Porter agreed led to Martin’s offenses. Justice Porter’s sentencing comments here

In On Line Opinion on October 11 2010, Professor Caroline Taylor, Head of the Social Justice Research Centre at Edith Cowan University, published an article titled “An (un) convincing argument” The article is a scathing commentary on the decision of the Tasmanian Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Tim Ellis, not to pursue any of the estimated 120 men who allegedly paid to have sex with a twelve-year-old girl. The men had responded to a newspaper advertisement claiming that the girl, “Angela,” was eighteen. “Angela” was put out to prostitution by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, both of whom are now serving custodial sentences.

Mr Ellis took the unusual step of publishing a Memorandum setting out his reasons for not proceeding with the prosecution of eight of the men known to have had sexual relations with “Angela” here in the Hobart Mercury.

After communications with Tim Ellis the article was pulled from On Line Opinion, as Professor Taylor names ex Tasmanian MP Terence Martin, one of the men accused and at that time undergoing trial. Martin has just been convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a young person and producing child exploitation material, and is awaiting sentencing.

However, the same article remained on the website of activist Melinda Tankard Reist, in spite of being sub judice. At the time I wrote a piece in rebuttal of Professor Taylor’s position after an email exchange with both her and Tim Ellis. My piece was also withheld, as the matter was sub judice.

It is unfortunate that some important aspects of the DPP’s decision were left out of Professor Taylor’s article, such as the fact that “Angela” has refused to identify her abusers, and the fact that the accused men would be tried separately. This would subject “Angela” to participation in seven or eight trials, all with, according to the evidence revealed in the DPP’s Memorandum, little chance of a successful outcome. This information is highly relevant to the DPP’s decision not to proceed, and in all fairness, should have been noted in any public critique of his decision. Rather the assumption has been made by many who oppose that decision that it was made solely to protect the alleged abusers, though I have yet to find any motive for Ellis’s alleged desire to protect them.

It is difficult to accept that these men could have been unaware that “Angela” was underage. However, difficult as it is to accept, it is equally if not more difficult to prove that the men were ignorant of her age. They answered an advertisement for sex with an eighteen-year-old. They were, according to the DPP, shown into a darkened room, where many of them stayed for little more than the minutes it took for them to climax. There appears to be agreement between those who have seen “Angela” that she does look a good deal older than twelve. The prosecution would be required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that these men, having anticipated an 18-year-old woman, realised when they entered the room that “Angela” was much younger, and proceeded to have sexual relations with her regardless. While this may well have been the case, proving it is another story.

“Angela” was forced to service up to 200 men over a short time period. Her ability to identify them may well be impaired by their number, and the trauma of the horrific and unrelenting assault on her body and her mind and her spirit. It is hardly likely that “Angela” was in any fit state to closely observe and remember their faces, in circumstances that amount to torture.

In the DPP’s Memorandum it is stated that “Angela” has refused to identify her abusers, and refused to give evidence against them. This presents the DPP with a dilemma. To proceed with prosecution “Angela” must somehow be persuaded to engage in not one, but possibly eight court cases, against her will. This would embroil her in legal action for many more years of her young life, as each defendant must be tried separately. Angela has already endured the trial of her mother, and her mother’s partner. She has now decided that she does not wish to endure any more legal proceedings. As Ellis puts it : “Repeated trials would undoubtedly increase the trauma the complainant has already suffered. Given the unlikelihood of convictions and even if there are convictions, the likely [minor] sentences the accused men would face, in my view, it is not in the public interest to repeatedly subject the complainant to giving evidence and the resulting trauma that she would as a result suffer. ”

According to the DPP’s Memorandum, there is a very good chance that the eight accused would be acquitted. Martin obligingly photographed himself with Angela, but no such evidence is available in any of the other circumstances.

It is extremely unfortunate when outrage against the perpetrators blinds us to “Angela’s” ongoing suffering. Attempting to bring these men to justice would cost her dearly, and she doesn’t want to do it. The community’s desire for retribution, while understandable, must take into account what “Angela” would have to bear in order for the community’s demands for justice to be sated. It is very easy to call for “justice” when you are not the one who is faced with enduring the process required to attain it, or the terrible uncertainty that at the end of the ordeal, “justice” may well be the last thing you’ll achieve.

There are grown women who will not pursue their attackers in the courts. There are grown men who will not even admit they’ve been sexually abused, let alone name their abusers. Why then should anyone expect a thirteen-year-old girl to do this, not once, but over and over again?

In her article, Professor Taylor claims that: “This child was denied justice and a voice. She was also denied any sense of her humanity, her vulnerability, her suffering. Society was denied the opportunity to demonstrate that we have evolved our social and moral landscape and will not tolerate the sexual abuse, misuse and trafficking of children.”

Superficially, there is little to argue against in these observations. But on a deeper level, the fact is that as “Angela” has refused to participate in any prosecutions, to attempt to persuade her to do so is to deny her the fundamental human right to refuse action in which she does not wish to engage.  She has already been utterly stripped of her rights as a human being, by the perpetrators and by the men who abused her. She has already been denied the right to refuse in ways many of us cannot bear to even imagine. How can “society” even contemplate disregarding and disrespecting her right to say no to further legal action?

As well, there is no guarantee that putting her through a series of trials will result in justice for her. It appears more likely that the result would be quite the opposite, and “Angela” will continue to suffer through a series of negative outcomes. Her damaged sense of her humanity, her sense of vulnerability, and her suffering will all be exacerbated by trials that do not end in convictions. This is not a risk that anyone with empathy and knowledge of the traumatic aftermath of sexual abuse would persuade her to take.

Some of those who object to the DPP’s decision argue that this is an opportunity for societal change if only the right lawyer would up his or her hand to courageously take it on. No doubt there is truth in this, however, on what grounds can anyone justify turning “Angela” into society’s guinea pig?

Respecting “Angela’s” decision not to participate in the legal process is a more urgent moral imperative than society’s right to pursue the offenders. Society must not exploit this child’s misery in order to demonstrate some kind of moral evolution. “Angela” cannot be forced into satisfying society’s need to have these men punished. To do so would be to perpetuate her exploitation, and demand of her a sacrifice no one has the right to demand.

A real moral evolution will be evidenced when we are not blinded by our outrage against these men, but when we are able to see past that outrage and consider what it will do to the victim to insist that she be further victimized in our pursuit of justice.

Just because the legal means are available to address sexual crimes does not guarantee that they are always the best choice for the victim. Many rape victims know this. Many choose to relinquish their desire to see the accused punished because of what it will cost them. As frustrating and disappointing as this is for others, only the victim has the right to decide if she or he wants to, or can, go through the legal process. Victims of sexual crimes have already been forced to endure against their will. It is not society’s job to repeat this trauma, however well intentioned that society may perceive itself to be.

There is nothing more important to a victim of a sexual crime than to have her or his wishes respected and supported. It is one thing to stridently demand what we perceive as right and just, when it isn’t us who’ll have to pay the price.  It is another thing altogether to look into the face of a terribly abused and suffering child who tells you:  “I don’t want to,” and tell her she’s going to have to do it anyway because society demands justice and retribution.

This is a no-brainer. “Angela” is the only person who has the right to decide how she wants to proceed in this situation. This may well be the first time in her young life she’s been allowed to decide anything. “Angela” has decided. Society must accept that decision. Our obligation is to ensure she is receiving everything she needs to help her heal as best she can from unthinkable trauma. Nobody has the right to expect anything further of “Angela,” least of all that she offer herself up to change our world.


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30 Responses to “Tasmanian ex MP will do no jail time for raping child – DPP’s decision vindicated”

  1. Tiga Bu November 30, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Jennifer, this is, literally, in my back yard. I really want these bastards prosecuted, and the fact that Martin has Parkinsons and therefore (because of his drugs for said condition) means he was able to use a variant of ‘diminished capacity’ is just pure bollocks, and he should lose his, as should the other 120+ miscreants involved in this whole lurid and shameful episode.

    There is no justice here, and Tim Ellis is a coward – one can only summise he has powerful interests in the background warning him off – the laws need to be changed here. Child abuse (let’s not pretend it’s anything else) is again on the increase; this has just given license to a host of animals to get on and do what they will because they can use elements of this case in their defense.

    Tasmanian Justice System – the newest oxymoron… In the past month or so, two members of the same family have faced court on similar charges – there was a riot in the court for the first case – and neither of them will get much more than a token sentence, and very little time served or deterrent inflicting consequences.

    Children have even less rights now than animals. The Tasmanian RSPCA has successfully had adults jailed for neglecting and starving their animals in the past 12 months, yet a child raped by 120+ men gets no justice and her assailants don’t even darken the doorway of a court! Has the Tasmanian DPP gone insane!!!

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    • Jennifer Wilson November 30, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      I know, Tiga Bu, I feel outrage, and distress. But I can’t get away from “Angela’s” decision not to participate in any further legal action. I so utterly respect her decision and her right to make it and have it observed. She’s gone through three trials – she doesn’t want anything more. If anyone has earned the right to have her wishes heard and respected it’s “Angela.”

      As well, The Martin outcome demonstrates the lack of justice she can expect in any further trials – the law is the ass, it is entirely inadequate for dealing with these situations.

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  2. Sheeple Liberator November 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    I disagree. And not many things in life are a “no brainer”.

    Despite how mature she might look for her age, I would still venture that most people who have sex with a 12 year old in the light of day would know they are having sex with a young person. If, as you say, the men were having sex in a darkened room, that changes things significantly. I would just like to see a court of law make that judgment, not the DPP.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you about the trauma that “Angela” would suffer if these men were put on trial. No one wants to see that. I don’t have a good knowledge of how the criminal justice system works with respect to testimony of minors, but surely there is some way of putting these men on trial without forcing the child to be involved in every single one of them? Can’t they interview Angela once outside of court, video it, use that video in court at each of the trials and explore the other evidence that relates to each of the men? If you can prove the men were in fact there, Angela’s evidence actually isn’t that crucial. It’s more about whether the men recognised that she was a minor.

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    • Tiga Bu November 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

      I can tell you that all Tasmanian courts are set up for remote testimony for cases such as this, and it would be an arduous task to sit through 120+ trials, but that is the DPP, Tim Ellis, playing silly buggers again. “Angela” would not have to sit through them all.

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    • Jennifer Wilson November 30, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      Here are Justice Porter’s sentencing comments http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2011/11/30/280971_tasmania-news.html

      The men would have to be tried independently as there is no evidence that they conspired to commit an offense. Even giving evidence by video link still requires her to identify and give evidence against each of the accused, and she has refused to do either. This is crucial, I think – her refusal must be respected. To attempt to force her to identify and give evidence against seven men would be unthinkable. She’s already been through the trials of her mother, Gary Devine, and Terry Martin.

      None of the men sought sex with a child – they responded to an ad for an eighteen- year-old woman. While it can be argued that they should have know she was underage, proving that they did is much more difficult.

      I agree that it’s very hard to see them get away with it. However “Angela’s” decision must be respected above all else – she’s gone through enough, and a bad outcome from seven more trials is more than anyone should have to face. The outcome of Terry Martin’s trial vindicates the DPP’s concerns and decision, IMO. How do you think “Angela” feels to see him walk away? Do you think she’d want to risk that feeling seven more times?

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      • Sheeple Liberator November 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

        True, no doubt there would be difficulties. I just feel it’s a gross failure of the criminal justice system when 120 men have sex with a 12 year old and basically no one is tried for it.

        I understand the DPP has to consider the chances of successful prosecution when deciding whether to go to trial. But they’re also meant to consider the public interest. There’s a huge public interest factor here.

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        • Jennifer Wilson November 30, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

          I agree, there’s a massive system failure when something like this can happen. I agree the public interest factor is also huge. For myself, I will always put the victim’s interests before any others – especially when the victim is a child. It’s a really awful situation, and if nothing else it’s shown us that we have very inadequate means for dealing with such dreadful circumstances.

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      • Tiga Bu November 30, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

        I do respect her refusal, but I also believe this case has ramifications for the broader community and the ability of men/women to construct similar circumstances whereby this trade in human misery can continue unabated. The DPP is playing a woefully thin Straw Man game, in that he uses Angela’s refusal and the ‘lack of evidence’ as the grounds for not pursuing these men, when clearly, he could do so on the basis that these men made contact with Angela’s mother and that POS Devine (a misnomer if ever).

        They had to phone a number, the same number, which links them all to the events surrounding this affair. Subpoena their phone records and pursue that line of inquiry. There is surely enough linking evidence to begin the process, and the men would have had dealings with the mother and the gutter snipe, review the hotel footage of the arrivals… Interview the hotal staff that supplied the room, and who paid for it?

        It’s rubbish, and Ellis is as facile as he is gutless…

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        • Jennifer Wilson November 30, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

          The men were tracked through their phone calls, I think it’s in the DPP’s original Memorandum in October that I’ve linked to. – there still remains the matter of proving beyond reasonable doubt that they knew “Angela” was under age after they’d sought sex with an adult. I think Ellis’s point is that even if this could be proved the chances of any custodial sentence are miniscule – the family and “Angela” have pleaded for no more and to be left alone to deal with it all privately – even if there was a way to pursue the men without directly involving “Angela” in court proceedings, she will still be reading about herself in the media with every separate trial, for YEARS to come.

          I have no opinions on Ellis as I don’t know him or anything about him. I do want “Angela” to be left in peace as she’s requested. The broader community can’t in all decency demand that she be used as an example when she expressly does not want that. She’s endured the trials of her mother, Devine and Martin. Isn’t that as much as anyone, let alone a child, can be asked to do?

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  3. Tiga Bu November 30, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    The broader community is outraged by this event, let me tell you. I do believe there is a way to prosecute these men without further impacting on “Angela” – as we discussed, they are linked to this via their records. Do we really believe that these men were beguiled? I don’t for a minute. They were ruthless in their objective, as were her sad excuse of a mother and Devine, and the men neither asked nor sought proof of her age – isn’t it still the case that “ignorance is no excuse under the law”?

    The Child Services department was well aware that “Angela” was at risk and the types of shenanigans going on, based on the family history, information given to them and Case Worker notes, and they too (The Department) need to be put on trial.

    These men have committed a crime, there is no mistaking that, and for them to protest ignorance as a defence, and for the DPP to allow it to be used so, is reprehensible.

    DPP: “Did you know she was 12 years old?”

    Purely Innocent Upstanding Citizen: “No, I thought she was 18.”

    DPP: “Did you check or ask for proof?”

    Purely Innocent Upstanding Citizen: “No, she was advertised as being 18. I was too interested in getting my dick wet to bother with the detail.”

    DPP: “So you’re admitting that you didn’t check to make sure that the complete stranger you were about to have sex with was all that she was ‘advertised’ as?”

    Purely Innocent Upstanding Citizen: “Did I mention I was too busy getting my dick wet?”

    Sorry to be so crass, but seriously, are we really to believe that the DPP has done all that he can to ensure that this event doesn’t occur again, or that justice has been served and that the traumatised “Angela” actually sees justice done?

    There are alternatives to prosecute these men, just not the will to pursue, and that for me speaks of other powers at play here. Conspiracy theory? I think not. It wouldn’t be the first time that quotable notables have been caught up in this kind of malarkey, and ‘busted’ paedophile rings are replete with such members amongst their list of downfallen.

    The very least they could do is name and shame the bastards.

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    • Tim Ellis November 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

      Care to reveal your identity ” Tiga Blu ” ? You wouldn’t want to be covering up , or being facile , or being gutless would you ? How about we start by ” naming and shaming ” you ? Someone with your obvious legal skills will have no trouble justifying your anonymous defamations in Court .

      Tim Ellis

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      • Tiga Bu November 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

        How about you explain the position that that you’ve placed “Angela” in and defend the freedom of men who have committed this crime with the arguments that your hands are truly tied? Have you truly exhausted all avenue of prosecution here, Tim? Is the DPP so limited in power by the examples you’ve put forward that there is no further prosecutorial avenue for you to pursue? Is the state defender of the rights of Tasmanians at the limit of what it can truly do in this case?

        I’ll do a deal with you, Tim, in the same way that others have been dealt, I’ll reveal my identity and you can take me to court and challenge your right to a fair trial against defamation when you have done your utmost to see justice done by successfully charging and punishing the 120+ men a the centre of this scandal. “Angela” deserves that at the very least, and the people of Tasmania need to see that their DPP has real teeth.

        You don’t need to look too far to find me…

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      • Peter December 2, 2011 at 10:22 am #

        If this is the true Tim Ellis are you willing to answer these questions honestly and without spin?

        You mention on ABC radio that there is no list of 100 plus men yet your Deputy in court said there was a list of over 100 names from her phone records. If I asked my 8 year old if a list of over 100 phone numbers and names was ‘a list’ he would say the obvious answer of yes. Why are you not telling the truth or at best you are being deceptive.

        How many of the mens homes did you get a search warrant for?

        How many of the men were asked to come into a station for a proper interview compared to a simple phone call????

        How many of the men contacted after it was known that the girl would not point them out, actually agreed that they had sex? How many agreed before knowing this information? Was there a disparity? Do you believe the men who said they didn’t? What did you do to test their honesty?

        Please explain why the ‘boyfriend’ was less likely to know her real age than Mr Martin?

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  4. Sheeple Liberator November 30, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    So 120 men who have sex with a 12 year old shouldn’t be taken to court, but someone who questions this decision and is being a bit facetious in the process should. Go figure.

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  5. Tiga Bu November 30, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    From the ‘advice’ given by the DPP, Tim Ellis…

    “1. They all replied to an advertisement in the newspaper advertising the complainant as 18 years of age. Some even state they did not believe it was possible to advertise your services unless you were 18 years of age.

    2. A number of them, upon asking her age, were told by the complainant that she was 18 or 19.

    3. They had limited conversation with her.

    4. They were generally in a darkened room.

    5. They had not sought to have sex with somebody under age and were not expecting to have sexual intercourse with somebody under age.

    6. The complainant’s physical appearance was of a person who looked much older than 12 years of age.

    Another factor to be taken into account is the sheer improbability of people advertising a 12-year-old for prostitution. All of the above seven people believed the complainant to be 18 years old or older. ”

    Which century are you living in, Tim?

    “Given the above factors, I am of the view that a jury would be satisfied that the accused men had reasonable grounds and thus there is no reasonable prospect of conviction. ”

    Source:http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2010/10/02/176611_opinion.html

    It doesn’t take a ‘someone with your obvious legal skills’ to see that points 4 and 6 are mutually exclusive. If you can’t see the victim, how can you be sure of their appearance!? All of these ‘excuses’ are just that. They and their propagation, are facile.

    I am of the view that had I been given the opportunity to serve on a jury to hear this case, I would have reached a very different conclusion based on reasonable grounds. Yet, one single man, you, acted as Judge and Jury to prevent this from happening.

    Put these 120+ men in front of a jury of their peers, Tim, and see what reasonable people would decide based on the evidence before them. To not do so is gutless.

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  6. Beste November 30, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Tiga Bu

    Would you convict Male 6 (the 17yo boy) if you were in the Jury?

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    • Tiga Bu November 30, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

      I’d have to see all of the evidence in a court of law as part of a jury to decide, and as all we have in the DPP’s ‘opinion’ piece is a precis of limited evidence, I couldn’t say.

      More importantly, the circumstances of the 17yo involvement in this was separate to the prostitution case, as were the circumstances in which the sexual act took place. That said, it is still unlawful intercourse, and the issue would need to be cleared up in a proper court of law, where the justice process allows us as reasonable individuals on reasonable grounds to reason with the facts of the case.

      We have, however been denied this opportunity, thus far, by the actions of the DPP.

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      • Peter December 1, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

        It is worth noting that none of the DPP’s excused make any sense with the “19 year old boyfriend.” compared to Mr Martin, this bloke was on heat. She saw him on at least a dozen occasions, he even went to her house. In the video evidence she gave in court under oath she even said that she told him she was 12! I don’t believe her by the way. The fact is that the Police should never have charged Mr Martin, they knew the girl could look and act 18 and according to law that should have been the end of the story. Then there was a witch hunt and Mr Martin became the fall guy. I can guarantee that the DPP never thought they would win this case and from the look on Porters face when the Jury gave their verdict you could tell that he too was shocked.

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  7. Tiga Bu November 30, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    Jennifer, you may need to add a further edit to your story…

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-30/20111130-martin-in-drug-class-action/3704748

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  8. Tiga Bu December 1, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    So, Justice David Porter has this to say in summing up the sentencing in the case involving Terry Martin:

    “1 The complainant was an especially vulnerable young person and gravely exploited by others.

    2 There is wide disparity of age between the defendant and the complainant, although there is no suggestion that Mr Martin was at any time seeking to have sex with underage persons.

    3 It is not suggested that Mr Martin knew her actual age or believed it to be as it was.

    4 The number of photographs taken is large, and although there was no intention to distribute or show them, there was the prospect that, kept as they were, they might fall into the wrong hands.

    5 The majority of photographs are at the lower end of the scale of seriousness of content.

    6 The defendant was not the initial corrupter, but would have, although in a small way, contributed to or furthered that corruption. However, unlike what is unfortunately often the case, the production of the photographs did not introduce the complainant to the conduct recorded.

    7 The commission of the crimes is directly connected to what was effectively a mental illness, caused by medication prescribed for a serious physical condition. But for the medication, he would not have been engaging the services of sex workers and would have had no contact with the complainant.

    8 Although he ought to have known that the complainant was under 17 at the time of the commission of the crimes, his sexual inhibitions were markedly lessened by the medication, and his capacity to make proper judgments adversely affected.

    9 Mr Martin fully co-operated with police and was forthright in his interview; in the event that he had refused to speak to police, his prosecution may, at the least, have proved very difficult.

    10 I accept that Mr Martin’s reputation has undoubtedly been irremediably harmed, if not destroyed, irrespective of the revelation of the reasons underlying his use of sex workers, and his consequent engagement of the complainant’s services.

    11 I am satisfied that there is no likelihood of re-offending.

    In the balancing exercise, I think the dominant feature is, in simple terms, the fact that there is a direct causal link between the medication prescribed for Mr Martin’s Parkinson’s disease and the offending. On all of the material, I am satisfied that, but for that medication, he would not be facing sentence for these crimes.”

    So, we can see that ‘diminished capacity’ due to Martin’s prescription is the ‘justification’ for his actions, and the sentence handed down, but that ‘he ought to have known that the complainant was under 17 at the time of the commission of the crimes’, his ‘diminished capacity’ meant that his judgments were askew.

    Do the other 120+ men have the same ‘diminished capacity’ in the circumstances, given that Justice Porter believes it was probable that, suffering though Martin was, ‘he ought to have known that the complainant was under 17 at the time of the commission of the crimes’, those remaining figures involved in ‘the corruption of the complainant’ have no such excuse?

    Would the real Tim Ellis please stand up and respond! If the evidence against Martin (his confession primarily) was enough to proceed and take this matter to court, and given Justice Porter’s deliberation in it’s entirety, why is it not possible to prosecute the 6 remaining offenders based on their confessions (similar in detail and excuse to Martin’s)? Further, based on the sentencing argument given by Justice Porter, why can the remaining 114 men not be tried, given as justice Porter points out, that historically and statistically “single counts of sexual intercourse with a young person have resulted in approximately 60 per cent of non-custodial sentences, with a sentence of over six months’ imprisonment being rare for the remainder, except where there has been a severe breach of trust.”

    I think the Tasmanian people would be content with a 60% prosecution rate in a case where the accused will make every effort to avoided sentencing, primarily by denial, and where, based on the reasoning applied by Justice Porter, a requisite damage to their reputations would go some way to making a $700 crime appear to be justice carried out.

    Well…

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  9. Peter December 1, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    There is some excellent comments on this story and I can difinitely understand the anger. This said I would like to throw a can of worms into the discussion and ask you to question whether your outrage may need to be redirected slightly.

    Ok, what if this girl actually looked 18?
    What if you saw her naked and you were responding to an advert and you saw and experienced, well developed, professional sex worker?

    Let me explain a few things that haven’t been picked up by the media and a few things I have been told by people who actually know the girl and knew her beforehand.

    Firstly there is the fact that a number of the men vommited immediately after they were told. Mr Martin in fact thought it was a prank call. One of the questions to the police investigator even makes it sound like the Police investIgator said to Mr Martin she was 12 but looked 18. If this is true then he certainly should never have been charged.
    Every single witness including the Police and Child Protection person said that she looked at least 15 or 16, even though they knew she was 12.
    She was fully developed.
    She was trained as to how to act and what to say.

    In addition to all of this I have spoken to a lady who had a daughter of the same age at the girls school and before it was known who the girl was, she was able to guess correctly because she knew a 12 year old who looked 18 and was known to be very sexually active. So this was a mother of a 12 year old, not a 50 year old man, who was able to correctly guess even though she knew her correct age!

    I have also heard that the girls hair dresser has said she could pass for 18 and that a school teacher of the girl said that with her looks, her body and her known sexual activity, that she could pass for an 18 year old.

    Before hearing this I would have thought it impossible to believe but seemingly this girl is one of the very very few who could pull it off.

    It also has to be under stood that this girl wanted to do it, she was part of the decision making process and there has been no evidence to say that she was forced or coerced. The other issue is the fact that there were so many men over a 3 month period. Logically this fact actually proves the opposite to what people are saying. I know there are plenty of man haters out there but there are not 200 out of 200 men who would willingly and knowingly have sex with someone underage. That’s just impossible for any sensible person to believe. It’s also importAnt to note that police were not tipped off by a customer rather it was her child protection worker.

    So if this is true, why did the 8 of the 10 people in the jury, think that he should have known?? Well there were no witnesses such as those mentioned and there was no way that Mr Martin could have ever got a fair trial in Tasmania. It’s sad but true. Even the Juries decision was bazaar. To not have a plea on one charge, particularly the first should logically have mean there was sufficient doubt on all. Anyway, human nature seeks a person to accept responsibility, this should have stopped at Devine and the Mum. In anycase it was the Government who should take responsibility, not Mr Martin. This girl was on a care and protection order and thus Hon Lin Thorp was her true parent…

    So what next? Well I believe that people’s anger and desire for change is wasted and I’ll informed if it is directed at Mr Martin, the 200 men or even the DPP (who still has a lot to answer). Our energy should go towards resourcing and empowering child protection to intervene earlier and to actually look after the kids they already have in their care. We also should be pushing for changes to sex industry legislation to make it harder to advertise an underage person and other changes that can minimize chances that this could ever happen again.

    This is a tragic situation but let’s not make it worse by casting stones at the wrong people.

    And just a final thought for hose who pedal that Mr Martin has used medication as an excuse. Again this is not factual. He believed she was 18 for all the reasons mentioned earlier and it was never “the drugs made me do it.” Justice Porter recognized that Mr Martin would never have been placed in that situation if it wasn’t for the drugs so this is why it was a mitigating factor.

    PS I saw this girl and heard her talk on video during the case and under the right conditions I have no doubt that she could pass for 18.

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    • Peter December 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

      PS Sorry about the spellos etc on the previous entry, damn small screen smart phones make it difficult to read and edit. I’m not therefore as illiterate as it may seem 😉

      Like

    • Jennifer Wilson December 2, 2011 at 6:58 am #

      “Our energy should go towards resourcing and empowering child protection to intervene earlier and to actually look after the kids they already have in their care. We also should be pushing for changes to sex industry legislation to make it harder to advertise an underage person and other changes that can minimize chances that this could ever happen again.”

      Yes, you are absolutely right about this, I couldn’t agree more.

      There’s clearly so much more to this situation, including personal agendas and behind-the-scene politics that don’t get publicised. I know there’s history between the DPP and Caroline Taylor for example, and with a situation as explosive as this one, it would be naive to think there isn’t a whole lot more going on most of us don’t know about.

      I can’t agree that the girl “wanted to do it.” I see what you’re saying, but there are many ways of forcing a child to do things apart from physical coercion. Nobody is mature at the age of 12, and the family circumstances were extremely dysfunctional. Being in such an environment doesn’t allow a child to learn how to look after herself and make good decisions about what to do or not do. The impression I got was that “Angela” agreed because she wanted to provide her mother with the money she needed for drugs. “Angela” kept very little of the money for herself. It is an incredibly sad story, and I do wonder about the agencies that were supposed to be protecting her and already knew of her circumstances.It sounds as if “Angela” was very let down by those agencies, and that’s probably to do with under funding and under resourcing as well.

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  10. Tiga Bu December 2, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    “And just a final thought for hose who pedal that Mr Martin has used medication as an excuse. Again this is not factual. He believed she was 18 for all the reasons mentioned earlier and it was never “the drugs made me do it.” Justice Porter recognized that Mr Martin would never have been placed in that situation if it wasn’t for the drugs so this is why it was a mitigating factor.”

    Sorry, Peter, I can’t agree with this paragraph of yours. It is quite clear in Justice Porter’s statement that he does believe that Martin ‘ought to have known’ she was under 17, and that the medication was the excuse used by Justice Porter, which only highlights the lack of ‘mitigating’ excuses in the other men’s defence.

    As Jennifer does, I agree wholeheartedly with the highlighted block above in her reply.

    Thanks for your insight and reply too…

    Like

    • Peter December 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

      You are correct except that Porter was saying what the Jury believed, it was clearly not what he believed, this was evident in his summing up of the case. Of course he couldn’t just come out and say to the jury that you cant reasonably believe he definitely should have known her age. He did everything BUT say this. The hung result on the first charge logically should have followed to the 2nd and 3rd if Jury’s were logical and not led by emotion and per judgement.

      Like

      • Peter December 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

        That was supposed to be pre judgement.

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  11. Tiga Bu December 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Peter, I’m not trying to nit-pick here, but can you tell me where it is defined that Justice Porter distanced himself from these findings?

    I have re-read the summary, three times (just to be sure I see where the lines may have blurred) and I have this from his summary which indicates the opposite:

    In my view, the entire conduct, viewed objectively, does call for imprisonment. Essentially this relates to the vulnerability of the complainant and her obvious circumstances, what ought to have been known of her apparent age, the sexual acts, and the many photographs taken.”

    Justice Porter was, of his own admission, in agreement with the findings of the jury, and in his own reasoning he expressed this as a belief.

    Or have I missed something?

    Like

    • Peter December 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

      No, that is exactly what he said because that is what he has to say. A judge can’t say the Jury is wrong, he has to take it as fact. What I am saying is that it was pretty obvious that he didn’t believe it personally. Don’t professionals say that the spoken word is like 15% of what is communicated. This is what Porter said but every other part of his body language and speech demonstrated that he thought Mr Martin was wrongly convicted. In addition I have heard that the Media who were also present were expecting a not guilty verdict and like the Jury they were also there the whole time. Again, difficult to get a fair trial.

      Like

  12. Tiga Bu January 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Hallo Jen – you don’t seem to have a contact form, so my apol0gies, so I thought I would place this here and you can do what you like with it. I think it speaks, again, to the systemic pressures and failures operating here in Tasmania… Everything seems to be ‘after the fact’… Sigh…

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-13/mother-charged-in-sex-case/3770700?section=tas

    Like

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