Children a low priority in legal system: Father

THE father of a 13-year-old rape victim couldn't express his anger at the justice system enough yesterday.

The accused was sentenced to a total of six years jail and will be eligible for early release after two and half years (see story page one).

The father struggled to understand why the matter had not been taken more seriously after his former best friend had ruined his daughter's life.

"He was my best friend for five years,'' he said. "He sexually assaulted my daughter for over one year.''

Despite entering an early plea of guilty to the child-sex offences the man remained on bail for several months until his sentencing yesterday.

"This guy pleads guilty to all the charges and remains free,'' the father said.

He can't fathom why the child abuser wasn't given a longer jail sentence.

"I'm glad for my daughter's sake he got charged,'' he said. "But I think two and a half years is a bit short.

"I would have been quite happy with 10 years.''

In his frustration, the father vented his feelings over the issue.

"You're told to sit on your hands and do nothing,'' he said. "I would rather give him life myself.

"I feel cheated.

"You think my daughter is going to be mentally and emotionally okay in two years?''

The father said it came down to a problem with the justice system.

"Our children are a very low priority in our legal system,'' he said. "These guys don't change their behaviour.

"When he's out in two and a half years it's not my kid I'm worried about.''

He said it was time words over the justice system were put into action.

"This is going to keep happening,'' he said. "When is someone going to do something?

"It's designed for the perpetrator.

"How do we change the legal system and when?

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