Current Suppression Orders & law that punishes victims for speaking

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Dec 27, 2016
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
In 2010, a vulnerable 15-year-old school student was groomed and repeatedly sexually assaulted by her high school teacher in Tasmania.

Suffering from anorexia and struggling to cope with her broken family life, the young girl fell into the manipulative arms of a 58-year-old monster.

The highly regarded maths teacher preyed on his student, assaulting her at school, in his private office, in a hotel room and even in a church.

In Tasmania, Section 194K of the Evidence Act means that the identity of a sexual assault survivor can never be revealed, even with the sexual assault survivor’s full cooperation and consent.

It’s a barbaric law that effectively silences survivors and protects their perpetrators.

‘Jane Doe’ is the Tasmanian sexual abuse survivor that, in order to speak to the media, is forced to hide behind an alias.

But even more shocking is that under this law, Jane Doe’s attacker, Nicolaas Bester, can speak publicly – and he has.

On multiple occasions the convicted sex offender has made statements claiming he is the real victim, and the assault was a consensual relationship – an attempt to rewrite his dark history, knowing that his victim can never correct him.

Tracey May wanted to name her abuser but the Victorian Courts prevented her from doing so.

The name of one of Victoria’s worst child sex offenders can now be revealed after a court-issued suppression order hiding the former policeman’s identity was lifted.

Though Robert “Bob” Gommeson was convicted and sentenced in 2016 for the horrendous abuse of nine children, he was protected by an order that prohibited the publication of his name.

On Wednesday, Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg agreed to revoke the order in a win for Gommeson’s victims in a climate of criticism of the courts over increasing secrecy.

Tracey May, a survivor, has been fighting to name Gommeson since his conviction.

Gommeson brutalised nine children, the youngest of them just five years old, between 1967 and 1983.

The 68-year-old, who was working at Hastings, attacked two children in the police station and another in the back of a divisional van.

In one incident, he held his police-issue revolver to the head of one of his victims as he raped her, according to the victim’s testimony to the County Court in 2016.

A parent reported him to police in 1979, but he wasn’t charged. Instead, Gommeson resigned from the force and moved to New South Wales, where he offended against another seven children between 2005 and 2011.

Gommeson, who was sentenced to jail for the NSW offences in 2014, pleaded guilty to the Victorian crimes and was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison in 2016.

When the Victorian proceedings first began in 2012, a suppression order was put in place to ensure a fair trial.

But because it was made under the Magistrate’s Court Act, there was no expiration date. Such orders now should have an expiration date of five years under the Open Courts Act.

When the case progressed to the County Court, the higher court did not revoke the order and nor did it issue a new one, but Gommeson remained protected under the pseudonym Lewis Goddard.

It's quite shocking this woman actually had to fight the courts to be able to name her abuser.

For further reading, recommend The Age series The Secret State

Almost 1600 court orders to suppress information were made between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016 – including court orders keeping some of Victoria’s worst paedophiles a secret. Their victims want this reformed.

Court orders
From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016, 1594 orders with the effect of suppressing information under various sources of power, with 1,279 orders made under the Open Courts Act. Of these ...

12% did not specify why the case was suppressed.
22% involved ‘blanket bans’ that either failed to identify what was to be suppressed or more commonly stated that the order covered the ‘whole or any part of the proceeding’
7% of orders were not sufficiently specific as to their date of expiry.


Dec 27, 2016
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Here's another one, the crushing stupidity of suppression orders that serve to protect and benefit people who attack children.

When Queensland girl Nicole* was just five weeks old her father snapped and threw her against the cot in a fit of rage. Nicole has severe brain damage and her mother wants to warn others about shaken baby syndrome and her ex. What if he does it to someone else's baby?

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