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Attorney-General v Allwood[2021] QSC 139

Attorney-General v Allwood[2021] QSC 139

SUPREME COURT OF QUEENSLAND

CITATION:

Attorney-General for the State of Queensland v Allwood [2021] QSC 139

PARTIES:

ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR THE STATE OF QUEENSLAND

(applicant)

v

GORDON ANTHONY ALLWOOD

(respondent)

FILE NO/S:

BS No 7178 of 2017

DIVISION:

Trial

PROCEEDING:

Application

ORIGINATING COURT:

Supreme Court at Brisbane

DELIVERED ON:

24 May 2021 (ex tempore)

DELIVERED AT:

Brisbane

HEARING DATE:

24 May 2021

JUDGE:

Bradley J

ORDERS:

  1. Pursuant to s 22(2)(a) of the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003,  the Court rescinds the supervision order made by Davis J on 6 November 2017.
  2. The respondent, Gordon Anthony Allwood, be detained in custody for an indefinite term for care, control or treatment.

CATCHWORDS:

CRIMINAL LAW – SENTENCE – SENTENCING ORDERS – ORDERS AND DECLARATIONS RELATING TO SERIOUS OR VIOLENT OFFENDERS OR DANGEROUS SEXUAL OFFENDERS – DANGEROUS SEXUAL OFFENDER – GENERALLY – where the respondent contravened a supervision order made under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 – where the relevant contravention related to an offence under the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) of procuring a child to engage in sexual activity outside Australia – where the respondent pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years imprisonment – where the respondent’s underlying paedophilic disorder diagnosis remains untreated due to his dishonest and uncooperative attitude towards treatment – where the breach of the supervision order involved serious sexual offending against a child – where the consultant psychiatrists agree the respondent remains a high risk of further sexual offending if released into the community, regardless of a supervision order – whether the court should make a continuing detention order

Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)

Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003, s 22(2)(a), s 43AA

COUNSEL:

J Tate for the applicant

MJ Jackson for the respondent

SOLICITORS:

GR Cooper, Crown Solicitor for the applicant

Karsas Lawyers for the respondent

  1. [1]
    This is a decision on an application brought by the Attorney-General under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 (Qld) (the Act).  The application arises out of a contravention by the respondent.  I describe it as such because before this Court it is not contended that there was no contravention of the relevant order.  The background circumstances can be briefly stated.  On 6 November 2017, his Honour Justice Davis released the respondent to the community under a supervision order.  The supervision order contained 45 requirements. It was made for a period of 10 years from the release date, which was 7 November 2017, so that it would operate until 7 November 2027. 
  2. [2]
    On 6 April 2020, the respondent pleaded guilty and was sentenced by his Honour Judge Allen for an offence under s 272.14(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) relating to procuring a child to engage in sexual activity outside Australia.  A prison sentence of four years was imposed.  On 12 May 2020 the respondent pleaded guilty and was convicted of one offence under s 43AA of the Act.  He was sentenced by Magistrate Nunan to six months imprisonment which was suspended forthwith.  The respondent has a primary diagnosis of paedophilic disorder non-exclusive type, attracted predominantly to females but historically to both males and females, and a severe cluster B personality disorder.  These diagnoses have been made by both Dr Arthur and Dr Brown, who have provided a number of reports about the respondent and today gave some oral evidence about some of those reports.  The respondent’s personality disorder has also been described as an antisocial personality disorder, and the respondent also has a mild intellectual disability.
  3. [3]
    The respondent’s underlying diagnoses results in relevant issues for today’s decision.  The antisocial personality disorder leads to him acting dishonestly, uncooperatively, to be unaccepting of law, discipline or control, and resistant to the same.  His narcissistic personality leads to him being pleased with circumventing controls, and to gain some self-esteem by putting others down in small measures, and by beating rules that might otherwise apply to him.  Much of the concern about the respondent’s behaviour is generated by his deviant sexual drives, where he has consistently offended against children. The evidence from recent interactions with him by the two psychiatrists confirm that he remains sexually preoccupied in this respect.  His underlying deviancy is essentially untreated because of his uncooperative attitude towards those who might assist him in this regard. He regards himself essentially as operating without moral barriers.
  4. [4]
    Dr Arthur, one of the psychiatrists, expressed a view that the respondent, if he were to be released to the community under a supervision order, ought to be subject to terms that would, in Dr Arthur’s expression, recreate gaol in the community.  Both Dr Arthur and Dr Brown express considerable concern as to the practicality of doing so.  Each says, in effect, that the supervision order would have to provide for constant personal supervision, would have to make it impossible for the respondent to have access to mobile devices, or to any person who would be able to procure a mobile device for him, and would have to have no access to minors, or to a person able to operate on his behalf in order for him to gain access to minors.
  5. [5]
    Perhaps a better way of understanding the situation was that expressed by Dr Arthur in cross-examination.  He said that:

External conditions imposed on a person with such a psychiatric condition are unable to operate without some level of internal control being applied by the subject.

  1. [6]
    In Dr Arthur’s expression:

The external controls only work to augment the internal controls.  They do not work where there is no internal control. 

  1. [7]
    Dr Arthur expressed the view that, in fact, the respondent was resistant to external controls, sought to circumvent them, and found pleasure and satisfaction in doing so. At one point of the cross-examination, Dr Arthur expressed the view that it appeared the respondent has no capacity to self-regulate. 
  2. [8]
    Similar questions were put to Dr Brown in her cross-examination.  She had considered the evidence of the breaches of the supervision order and the offences committed by the respondent during the period that he was subject to that order.  The fact that he reoffended and subverted the terms of the supervision order, in what Dr Brown described as an alarming way, by procuring access to a child, indicated the ineffectiveness of conditions under a supervision order seeking to ameliorate the risk of the respondent reoffending.  As Dr Brown expressed it:

The respondent presents many risks, having his offending is diverse.  For supervision to work there has to be some trust and engagement on the part of the respondent.  In the absence of it supervision will not be successful.

  1. [9]
    Both of the psychiatrists, having spent time with the respondent, and having administered the relatively standard static measures for risk, concluded in the case of Dr Brown, that :

The respondent’s unmodified risk of sexual reoffending was high. This is due to his chronic and diverse history of offending, the diagnosis of a paraphilia and antisocial personality disorder, ongoing negative attitudes, and cognitive distortions relating to females and law enforcement and long-standing resistance to sexual offender treatment. Mr Allwood has no prosocial supports or routine, and he has not pursued opportunities to improve his heath and employment prospects, such that he leads a parasitic and desultory lifestyle.

In my opinion, the recent sexual offending and contraventions represented egregious and deceptive behaviours in order to gain sexualised contact with a  child, which would have almost certainly progressed to even more serious and sustained sexual offending if not discovered.  The supervision process and individualised psychological therapy was not sufficient to prevent this offending, and I have no confidence that these measures would be adequate in the future, unless Mr Allwood is able to develop some insight and a more robust risk reduction plan that does not rely exclusively on external and procedural measures.

  1. [10]
    In his report, Dr Arthur expressed these views:

The recent offences highlight his entrenched antisocial, narcissistic, and paranoid personality features, ongoing high levels of sexual preoccupation, the rejection of supervision/treatment and his willingness to act on deviant sexual urges involving children and adolescent girls.  His offences display a degree of planning, attempts at grooming and manipulation.  And driven by his need for sexual gratification, underlying deviant sexual interests, and perhaps a narcissistic desire to prove his worth by circumventing restrictions placed on him. Prisoner Allwood will attempt to access social media to initiate contact with adult women and children.  He may also become attracted to teenagers or children he meets in his day-to-day life, particularly children related to people he already knows. 

He will most likely engage in non-contact sexual offences via social media, although given the opportunity it is not inconceivable that he may perpetrate contact sexual offences.  Victims are likely to be children or adolescents that he accesses via social media, or children of adults that he knows or becomes familiar with.  He is likely to use psychological coercion and cause psychological harm to his victims.  He may offend soon after release or wait until an opportunity presents itself.  Once started, the offending behaviour will most likely continue until he is caught.

  1. [11]
    Dr Arthur also expressed these views:

Prisoner Allwood’s case highlights the fact that supervision orders alone cannot guarantee the safety of the community, particularly in cases where offenders have little to no insight or motivation to change, show limited engagement in treatment and are not dissuaded by the threat of returning to custody or influenced by social pressures or moral reasoning. 

  1. [12]
    Dr Arthur agreed with the comment from the respondent’s treating psychologist that his risk of reoffending was:

Not effectively mitigated by the provision of supervision, psychological intervention, and case management.  He remains at a high risk of further sexual offending if released into the community, regardless of a supervision order. 

  1. [13]
    On the basis of this evidence, I am satisfied that, as would ordinarily be the case where there was a contravention of the requirements of an existing supervision order, it is appropriate for the Court to consider what the outcome should be for the respondent’s future.  The conclusion I have reached is that an order should be made in the terms proposed by the Crown solicitor.  Those terms are: firstly, that the Court rescinds the supervision order made by Davis J on 6 November 2017, and secondly that the Court orders that the respondent be detained in custody for an indefinite term for care, control or treatment.  I will make an order in those terms.
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Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Attorney-General for the State of Queensland v Allwood

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Attorney-General v Allwood

  • MNC:

    [2021] QSC 139

  • Court:

    QSC

  • Judge(s):

    Bradley J

  • Date:

    24 May 2021

Appeal Status

Please note, appeal data is presently unavailable for this judgment. This judgment may have been the subject of an appeal.

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