Bravehearts, an Australian organisation committed to protecting children from sexual assault, is calling for the immediate dismissal of South Coast magistrate Doug Dick.
Magistrate Dick granted the continuation of bail conditions for Maurice Van Ryn after he pleaded guilty to a string of child sex offences in Bega Local Court.
Bravehearts founder and chief executive officer Hetty Johnston wrote to NSW Attorney General Brad Hazzard and NSW Chief Justice Thomas Bathurst to express “grave concerns” about the decision to grant bail.
In the letters, Ms Johnston called for the immediate dismissal of Magistrate Dick and the review of all his decisions made over the past 24 months.
Van Ryn pleaded guilty to 12 separate offences involving children under 16, including the most serious, “persistent sexual abuse of a child”, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years’ jail.
He was committed to the District Court for sentencing on February 2, 2015.
However, after his bail was continued despite the guilty plea, NSW Attorney General Brad Hazzard called for an urgent review into the circumstances and urged the DPP to step in and appeal the decision.
Community concerns were heightened further when it was discovered Van Ryn had committed one of the offences while already on bail for a separate child abuse matter.
In June 2014, Van Ryn was arrested and charged over an act of indecency with a child under 16.
It is believed to have been this matter that prompted other victims to come forward with their stories of abuse that go back at least 10 years.
He was released on bail.
However, he committed a further offence – an assault with act of indecency – in July this year.
A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Justice said while Van Ryn did not breach any imposed bail conditions, he did commit a further offence while on bail.
“By any measure, this decision [to grant bail] is unforgiveable, unfathomable and unacceptable,” Ms Johnston wrote in her letters.
“Van Ryn admitted guilt, admitted committing the most horrendous offences against the most vulnerable members of our community.
“In addition, as the Crown argued, this is a man who has the financial means to abscond if he so wishes and as such poses a flight risk.
“There is absolutely every justification for his detainment pending sentencing.
“When he committed these offences he forfeited his right to be considered above the rights of victims, children and the community.”
By PAUL BIBBY
THE confessed child sex offender and former head of Bega Cheese, Maurice Van Ryn, also has links with the Shoalhaven area.
Ryn held the position of non-executive director and chairman of Probiotec Limited, which has two separate facilities in Nowra.
Although not having any direct contact with the local operations, Mr Van Ryn was chairman from its listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in November 2006 until his resignation in August this year.
Mr Van Ryn is likely to remain on bail if he can arrange effective electronic monitoring and prove his family members have put up a $700,000 surety, Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court has been told.
Last month Mr Van Ryn, the chief executive officer of the cheese company for 14 years, pleaded guilty to 12 child sex offences related to attacks on six boys aged eight to 16 at Tathra on the South Coast between 2006 and 2014.
In a decision that brought an angry reaction from some in the community, Bega Local Magistrate Doug Dick then granted the 59-year-old bail under strict conditions.
NSW Attorney General Brad Hazzard intervened, asking for a review of the decision and on Thursday the matter returned to Downing Centre for a review hearing.
The Crown argued there was an unacceptable risk Mr Van Ryn would flee if allowed to remain on bail, asserting that he had considerable wealth and a property in Thailand – a country with which Australia does not have an extradition treaty.
Crown Prosecutor John Bowers said there was evidence from one of Mr Van Ryn’s victims that the 59-year-old had confessed to “interfering with a young boy in that country”.
Mr Bowers also argued that Mr Van Ryn represented an unacceptable risk to the community, stating that, after being charged earlier this year, he molested a teenage boy who had previously been a victim of his attacks.
He said the offence had involved Mr Van Ryn “kissing” the teenager and had “occurred in the context of the previous incident involving the same boy, and in the context of 10 years of offending”.
However, counsel for the defence, Steven Hodges, said his client was undertaking regular treatment to address his paedophilic urges.
The court was told this took the form of “chemical castration” – dosing a patient with chemicals to dramatically reduce their libido.
In relation to the risk of flight, Mr Hodges said that as someone outside the “criminal milieux” his client had no means of organising illegal flights out of the country, nor did he have sufficient funds at his disposal to do so.
Despite evidence that Mr Van Ryn was receiving payment of $15,000 monthly, Mr Hodges said “There’s no cash…and his bank accounts are overdrawn”.
He said the man would agree to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and to be under “virtual house arrest” at a unit in the Bega Valley..
His mother had agreed to put up a $200,000 surety, while his wife had agreed to put up $500,000.
Acting Judge Rodney Madgwick appeared to accept that these conditions would mitigate the flight risk, which he described as “the key sticking point” in the case.
“There’s no suggestion that, other than the offending, he hasn’t been a model citizen,” Judge Madgwick said.
“[The prospect] of people being very much reduced in their circumstances [as a result of losing the surety] would cause such a man to stand and face his punishment.
“If the bracelet system can be made to work, and the sureties, then I think those conditions would satisfactorily mitigate the risks that he would flee.”
The matter was to return to court on Friday and would then be adjourned until early next week when the defence will need to demonstrate that electronic monitoring arrangements can be implemented on the South Coast.
Judge Madgwick is then expected to make a decision on bail.
Source : https://www.southcoastregister.com.au/story/2747642/bravehearts-calls-for-magistrate-doug-dicks-dismissal/