Posts Tagged ‘dopamine agonist medication’

The Courts Are Failing to Protect Our Children

November 30, 2011

If you ever needed a reminder at how weak our courts appear to be when it comes to protecting the safety and wellbeing of our children, take the bewildering case of former Tasmanian MP, Terence Lewis Martin.

Mr. Martin was found guilty of sex offences (which included having oral sex and taking photographs) with a 12-year-old girl.

Did he get life imprisonment? Nope!

How about 20 years? Try Again!

Well, surely he got at least a 10 year jail sentence? Not even close!

No, Mr. Martin got to walk free with a suspended sentence!

Walk free?

Why you ask?  Good question!

THE former MP guilty of sex offences with a 12-year-old girl has walked free from court with a suspended sentence, provoking outrage from anti-abuse campaigners and some of the girls’ relatives.

Former Tasmanian upper house MP Terence Lewis Martin had been in custody since being found guilty last week of unlawful sexual intercourse with a young person and of producing child exploitation material.

In the Supreme Court in Hobart yesterday, judge David Porter handed down a 10-month prison sentence, with the balance suspended provided the 54-year-old remains of good behaviour for two years.

Outside court, Martin was abused and challenged by a group that included relatives of the girl.

Justice Porter said a “dominant factor” in his sentencing of Martin was that the former MP had been suffering hyper-sexuality caused by medication for Parkinson’s disease. He had concluded there was a “direct causal link” between this dopamine agonist medication and Martin’s offences.

The judge said the condition caused by the medication had impaired Martin’s ability to make moral judgments and therefore “his moral culpability is reduced”.

“But for the medication, he would not be facing sentencing for this crime,” Justice Porter said.

Martin, a Labor-turned-independent MP and a former mayor of Glenorchy, in Hobart’s north, had oral sex with the girl and took naked photographs of her in September 2009.

Martin had pleaded not guilty and insisted he believed the girl was 18. When first confronted by police, he expressed shock that she was 12 and “disgust” at having engaged in sex acts with a child.

So let’s get this straight:

1. Mr. Martin’s excuse at the time was that the girl looked 18 when she was in fact 12.  Give me a break!

2. The judge says that Mr. Martin wouldn’t have offended if it wasn’t for the medication.  How would he be able to make that statement with such certainty? Even if the medication does indeed take away a person’s moral judgement, it surely doesn’t mean that they will do something this heinous. You can’t tell me that an average person stripped of their moral judgement would start taking up pedophilia as a result of their clouded sensibilities.

3. If this drug is indeed seen as so destructive to a reasonable person’s moral judgement as to compel him to sexually molest a 12-year-old girl, why didn’t the judge call for the medication to be banned. Any bet, the drug stays on the shelves regardless of the implications as a result of this trial.

Either the drug is the culprit and it needs to be banned, or this former MP is just making excuses, in which case he would need to be locked up for many years.

Whatever way you look at it, it seems that this 12 year-old girl, like many others, have been given a very raw deal by our courts.

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