Back on July 1st, I blogged about the case of Dennis Ferguson, a convicted paedophile in Australia who was accused of multiple further offenses. The judge in the case dismissed all charges because "he didn't believe every member of a jury would be able to be 'dispassionate' in considering Ferguson's case due to significant adverse publicity about his past convictions." This, in the judge's opinion, made a fair trial impossible.
Thanks to Julie D. in Australia, who sent me a link to an update on this story, we now know that Mr. Ferguson will face justice after all.
DENNIS Ferguson will stand trial over child-sex abuse allegations after a decision hailed as a win for the criminal justice system.
A warrant was issued for Ferguson's arrest yesterday after the Court of Appeal overturned a stay of proceedings against him.
The stay of proceedings on allegations that Ferguson, 60, sexually assaulted a girl, 5, at her home in Dalby, west of Brisbane, in 2005, was ordered on the grounds he was too notorious to receive a fair trial.
Attorney-General Kerry Shine - who lodged an appeal - yesterday joined child protection advocates in praising the decision as a "very important" win but some sections of the legal fraternity have questioned the ruling.
"This decision reflects the strength of the Queensland justice system and the maturity of the Queensland people in addressing complex and emotional cases such as this," Mr Shine said.
District Court Judge Hugh Botting had halted proceedings last month over concerns media coverage made it unlikely a jury could be found capable of delivering a "dispassionate judgment".
His subsequent release attracted national headlines as mobs of local residents chased him out of the southwest town of Miles and then Logan, south of Brisbane.
In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeal yesterday ruled Judge Botting had been premature to say a properly instructed jury could not be fair and impartial.
Ferguson, who is being monitored by Taskforce Argos detectives at a secret location, has until Tuesday to surrender to police or face arrest.
I note that at least one blithering idiot isn't convinced by the overturning of the original ruling, but that's his problem. I'm just happy that the justice system will have the opportunity to rule on Mr. Ferguson's conduct, and deal with him as he deserves, whether innocent or guilty.
I have all too much first-hand experience as a counselor of dealing with the aftermath of child abuse cases. It's the most horrifying, gut-wrenching, devastating experience you can imagine, for all concerned. If you want to read a graphic account of what it's like to have your child abused by a sexual predator, read this recent article in the Daily Mail. Warning - it's not for the faint of heart.
I'm personally opposed to the death penalty . . . but for child abusers whose guilt is proven beyond doubt, I could be persuaded to make an exception.
P.S.: Julie D - thank you very much for your e-mail! It's great to be able to follow up on this story. Please keep in touch!