Slow progress towards a sex offenders' registry

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 September, 2008, 12:00am

Efforts to press the government to set up a registry of sex offenders over the past few years made little progress as proponents and opponents became locked in rounds of debates.

A consultation on a possible registry was launched in July by the Law Reform Commission, the latest effort to fast-track interim measures to protect children from repeat child molesters.

The paper came out after a spate of reoffending by molesters over the past three years, prompting judges to voice concerns about a legislative gap.

The most recent outcry followed a prosecution in February of a man who was revealed to have three convictions for indecent assault, including molestation of a girl during tutorials. He had been able to open a tutorial school on his release from jail and molest at least five more girls.

In August 2006 a transport worker with two previous convictions was sentenced to eight years' jail for sexually assaulting four children.

And in March this year a man was arrested for molesting a boy in a clubhouse at a Hung Hom estate, but a legal loophole allowed him to continue using the facilities while on bail.

If the Law Reform Commission proposal gets the go-ahead, employers in child-related services could obtain records of prospective employees to find out if they have committed sexual offences.

While child welfare workers criticised the proposal as not going far enough, some human rights groups argued a convict should not be discriminated against.