An international loophole that allows paedophiles who offended overseas to go unmonitored may be closed under legislation proposed by the Government.
Hastings truck-driver Aaron Ellmers has pleaded guilty to 60 child-sex offences. Court documents revealed the offending began within months of his being deported from Australia after a jail term for sexually abusing a boy.
Because he was convicted overseas, Ellmers, 41, could not be subject to conditions that could have seen him supervised by the Department of Corrections and his access to minors restricted.
Police Minister Anne Tolley confirmed yesterday that she was looking at "how sex offenders entering New Zealand can be added to a register, to allow us to track and manage them, and bring greater levels of safety to the public".
She is proposing a database to track those convicted of sex offences and habitual violence. She hoped to have it in place next year.
Depending on their perceived risk, offenders would be required to register periodically and inform police of any changes to their home address, employment or relationship status.
A register was introduced in Britain 15 years ago. About 55,000 offenders there are registered as lowest risk, about 2500 at the next level and 500 as high risk. Police and Corrections support such a register in New Zealand, and are working on a proposal for Mrs Tolley to take to the Cabinet.
Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Dunn, of Interpol New Zealand, said whenever police were notified of a prisoner being deported, they routinely "obtain as much information on the individual's convictions we can".
He said UK and Australia had registers. "They impose certain conditions on an individual. We have no such thing in New Zealand, so therefore the police are at a disadvantage."
AARON JOHN ELLMERS
1971: Born November 30.
1999: Moves to Australia.
2000: While working as a fruitpicker in Childers, near Bundaberg, claims to have seen Robert Long testing smoke alarms at Palace Backpackers Hostel weeks before Long burned it to the ground, killing 15.
2002: Five days before Long's trial he says he was lying about the claims.
November 2003: Convicted of perjury and given suspended sentence.
March 2004: Begins molesting 8-year-old boy.
December 2005: Sentenced to five years' prison on multiple charges of sexually offending against the boy.
2008: The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship revokes Ellmers' visa, as having been jailed for more than 12 months he failed the character part of the Migration Act 1958.
2008: After he serves half his sentence, the Queensland parole board frees Ellmers on the understanding he is to be deported. NZ Police informed by DIAC that Ellmers is being deported. NZ Police then able to obtain details of convictions.
June 2, 2008: Ellmers lands at Auckland Airport. Not subject to any parole conditions as convictions not made in NZ court. Within months of returning, he is reoffending against a 3-year-old boy.
2008-2012: Sexually violates two boys aged 3-7 and 9-12 on multiple occasions. Films abuse and distributes.
October 2012: Arrested in Christchurch after flying there to pay a man $500 to have sex with a 18-month-old boy.
February 2013: Pleads guilty to 60 child-sex offences.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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