Review critical of release of Jill’s killer before murder

A scathing review of a parole system in Australia has criticised a decision to set a “recidivist serious, violent, sexual offender” loose months before he killed Irishwoman Jill Meagher.

Review critical of release of Jill’s killer before murder

Former High Court judge Ian Callinan was asked to scrutinise the parole system in Victoria State in the wake of the 2012 rape and killing of Louth native Ms Meagher.

The judge’s report outlined how, at the time of the attack, Adrian Bayley was:

*On parole after serving a portion of an 11-year sentence for 16 counts of rape of five prostitutes. Mr Callinan noted Bayley had “used threats and violence to force these women to engage in a series of sexual acts which caused horrifying distress and brutal injury. His acts were intended to humiliate and injure”.

*On bail while appealing a three month sentence imposed on Feb 12, 2012, for recklessly causing serious injury to a man.

“It is not easy to understand why Bayley was not imprisoned when he was sentenced on February 27, 2012,” Mr Callinan wrote in his review.

“It is no answer to say that he had an appeal pending. It was an appeal against sentence only. Bayley was, therefore, on parole and on bail when he raped and murdered Ms Meagher. He ought to have been known by then to be a recidivist serious, violent, sexual offender with a history of being so, from a young age, and with an established pattern of doing so.”

Mr Callinan’s report outlined details of Bayley’s previous sexual offending:

*When he was 18, he held a woman against her will in his house and raped her. He was charged and released on bail pending trial.

*While on bail, he attacked a 17-year-old girl, poked her in the eyes, ripped off her clothes, touched her breasts and vagina and threatened to kill her.

*Later in 1990, he detained and attacked a 16-year-old girl who was hitch-hiking. She managed to escape.

He admitted those three attacks and was sentenced to five years imprisonment with a non-parole period of three years. In sentencing him, the county court judge, according to Mr Callinan, expressed “grave reservations about the genuineness of his remorse”.

Mr Callinan said Bayley’s file had revealed a number of what he described as “deficiencies”.

He said the file did not contain a single document containing a “straightforward complete chronology of his [Bayley’s] criminal history or analytical material relating to it”.

And nor did it contain the names of the panel that granted the serial sex offender parole.

“I have not set out all the details of Bayley’s criminal history and parole,” Mr Callinan said in his report. “It can, however, be said I think that the Parole Board had both cause and opportunity to cancel Bayley’s parole. Partial compliance with conditions of parole is not good enough. Offending in a violent way when on parole should not have been countenanced as effectively it was awaiting the outcome of the appeal.”

In an interview on Australian television, Jill Meagher’s husband Tom said it was a “real shame that something like this needs to happen before people take notice”.

He said the Victorian Parole Board had admitted its handling of the Bayley case was an “indefensible” mistake.

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