Jail release denied again for violent Ipswich rapist

THE freedom of a dangerous sex predator with a fetish for violent sexual fantasies has been delayed again.

Justice Robert Gotterson has ordered a stay on Mark Richard Lawrence's release on a strict supervision order until the end of an appeal hearing.

Lawrence was last week granted release under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act with 31 conditions, including a 24-hour curfew and electronic monitoring.

But new Queensland Solicitor-General Peter Dunning, arguing on behalf of Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie in the Queensland Court of Appeal on Friday afternoon, sought a stay to appeal the decision.

Justice Gotterson, in a judgment delivered Tuesday morning, raised concerns about the inability to detect if Lawrence was experiencing a deviant sexual fantasy and was taking any steps to self-manage it.

"It is, I think, arguable, firstly, that as much as self-management was a factor to be taken into account in assessing the risk to the community, so also was the inability of his immediate supervisors to detect such matters, and secondly, that by reason of its not having been expressly mentioned and balanced in context, this latter matter was not, or not properly, taken into account," he said.

"For this reason, I am of the preliminary view that the (Attorney-General) does have a point that is reasonably arguable on appeal."

Lawrence, 52, has been in jail for more than 30 years for rape, manslaughter and escaping from custody.

His crimes began at a young age when he was enrolled at the Ipswich Opportunity School were he reportedly tried to rape a student.

By his 18th birthday, Lawrence had been before the Ipswich Court three times for assaulting children.

He has been granted release previously before but lost his freedom on appeal.

Justice Philip McMurdo, in his judgment last week, said it was doubtful Lawrence had eliminated his deviant sexual fantasies entirely but Dr Joan Lawrence and Dr Donald Grant expressed views which were favourable to Lawrence's prospects of managing his sexual behaviour.

"The important point in (Dr Lawrence's) view was that (Lawrence) now appeared to be genuinely minded to control the risk from those fantasies and was developing the means to do so," he said.

"Therefore, the unknown is not so much whether (Lawrence) will experience the onset of these fantasies but rather whether he will remain willing and able, outside the custodial environment, to avoid their development and their potentially dangerous consequences.

"It is that uncertainty which results in some ongoing risk that the respondent would commit a serious sexual offence and perhaps a life threatening offence."

Justice McMurdo noted no one could read Lawrence's mind for the onset of deviant fantasies and it was possible "even his treating psychologist would be unable to detect some dangerous development in that respect".

But he said the two psychiatrists who had assessed Lawrence had markedly changed their views on his progress and their opinions must be given substantial weight.

"It is remarkable that each of the psychiatrists has so changed her or his view since the previous review of (Lawrence's) detention that each believes the level of risk is moderate and able to be contained ... by an appropriate supervision order," he said.

Justice McMurdo said he was persuaded the community could be adequately protected through a supervision order.
 


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