Convicted paedophile sends letter from prison to daughter he abused

Convicted paedophile sends letter from prison to daughter he abused

Convicted paedophile sends letter from prison to daughter he abused

Updated 5 February 2018, 17:50 AEDT

The family of a woman who was abused by her father is stunned he was allowed to send her mail while serving a 10-year prison sentence.

A Canberra woman has received a letter from her paedophile father, just two years after he was jailed for molesting her.

The woman's father was convicted of multiple assaults, including against two of his daughters, dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.

He was handed a 10-year sentence, but one of his daughters received the letter with the second of two Christmas cards from him in January.

The 1,400-word letter detailed his life in prison, including an attack and subsequent hospitalisation, and various complaints about aspects of prison life, ranging from sleeping conditions to the use of plastic cutlery in the facility.

The ABC has seen the letter, which also asked the family to support the man's wife.

The family asked the ACT Government how he was able to send it from prison as they believed they were on a no-contact list.

The office of Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury told the ABC the family was not originally on the no-contact list, but they had since been added to it.

Husband of victim responds with angry letter

The husband of one of the abused daughters penned an open letter in response to the mail from prison, saying he could attest to the distress the father's correspondence had caused.

"Even though it seems you are allowed [to make contact], we thought you would have realised from our very clear victim impact statements that we did not want you to," he wrote.

"I interpret your actions in this regard as yet another sign of the 'bloody stupidity' you confessed to and displayed during your trial," he added.

The husband said any further attempts to contact his wife would "most definitely be seen as harassment and a continuation of the abuse" that led to the father's imprisonment.

He also singled out the fact the letter dedicated "just about 5 per cent" of its word count to the impact of abuse on the family.

"It would have served you better if you had written just those 72 words and omitted the rest," he wrote.

Letter 'certainly is disturbing': commissioner

The ACT's acting victims of crime commissioner Helen Watchirs suggested ensuring more victims understood the need to request being put on the list as a way to prevent similar situations.

"It certainly is disturbing [that this has occurred]," Dr Watchirs said.

"It is a concern that proactive steps need to be taken by victims.

"Possibly more work could be done to inform victims that they need to do this."

Dr Watchirs said no legal action for breach could be pursued because there were no active court orders preventing the detainee from contacting the victims.

She said the issue of whether victims should be automatically placed on the list should be considered in looking at a Charter of Rights for Victims of Crime in 2018.

She confirmed that prisoners were allowed to send letters or emails to the community, a rule she defended.

"It's a way of keeping contact with the community and in my view that's a good thing," she said.

"[That's] because it makes them more connected to the community and allows them to better integrate into the community when they get out and possibly less likely to recommit crime."

She said all letters were checked for "security issues".