Corrections 'loses' high-risk crims

PALOMA MIGONE
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2012
WANTED: Brian Conroy.
WANTED: Brian Conroy.
WANTED: Adam Biddle.
WANTED: Adam Biddle.

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The Corrections Department lost track of high-risk child sex offenders it was meant to be monitoring in the community 13 times in a year.

Today, two men are on the run after breaching extended supervision orders that subject them to parole-type conditions for up to 10 years after their release from prison.

Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Brian Conroy, 43, and Adam Biddle, 39, both convicted of sexual offences against children.

It is the third time both men have breached their conditions. Two breaches were for coming into contact with children under 16.

However, the breaches did not lead to any further charges for sexual offending.

Conroy is believed to be in the Wellington area and Biddle around Hamilton.

Corrections' general manager of community probation services, Katrina Casey, said yesterday that Conroy and Biddle's latest breaches did not involve any contact with children.

"We are getting on to it awfully fast and acting very quickly, and that's what I expect when we are managing these offenders," she said.

When offenders cannot be found, Corrections can request a warrant for their arrest.

In the year to June 30 last year, 13 warrants were issued. Figures show 64 child sex offenders breached their conditions that year, of which 29 came into contact with children under 16, including seven who were involved in "incidents".

Ms Casey said the number was "expected" given there were 209 offenders subject to orders, and showed Corrections staff were vigilant.

"What I'm seeing is numbers that reflect the difficult nature of these offenders and the effective monitoring that our staff are doing.

"They are not letting them get away with anything."

Seven people had been convicted of further sexual offences against children while under an order as of May 2010.

Corrections did not release recent numbers, saying it would have had to go into each offender's file to collect the information.

The orders have been under scrutiny since February when Terito Henry Miki, who was under a supervision order, was found to be teaching children at several schools.

He is set to be sentenced on Friday on seven charges of using a document to gain pecuniary advantage and four of breaching his protection order.

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The case sparked a ministerial inquiry and led to Corrections Minister Anne Tolley looking into a sex offenders' register, which would allow agencies to have better information-sharing and "stop any of these individuals slipping through the cracks".

Justice Minister Judith Collins has said orders were not adequate, and it was "too easy" in some cases for things to go wrong.

Last week she announced plans for public protection orders that would apply to a small number of "incredibly dangerous" sex offenders – estimated to be between five and 12 in a decade.

Officials were working on proposals to house the offenders in "something like a flatting situation" on prison land. Authorities would be able to apply to the High Court for an order and offenders could ask for a review.

"We are concerned that public safety can be jeopardised by a small number of people who reach the end of a prison sentence and continue to pose a very high risk for imminent and serious sexual or violent reoffending," she said.

The proposal is expected to be introduced to Parliament this year.

Ms Casey said Conroy and Biddle would not fall under Ms Collins' proposed public protection order. Fairfax NZ

If you see Conroy or Biddle call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

CASE BY CASE

BRIAN CONROY

April, 2006: Sentenced to one year in prison for indecently assaulting a female under 12. Conroy was also jailed for four years, six months for unlawful sexual connection with a female under 12. He served the charges concurrently.

September 2009: Breached his extended supervision order. He was jailed for 10 months.

September 2011: He was sentenced to one year, three months in prison for breaching a second supervision order.

April 2012: Breached his supervision order a third time. A warrant for his arrest has since been issued.

ADAM BIDDLE

September 1997: Pleaded guilty to two charges of rape and one of indecent assault involving two girls aged between six and 14. Sentenced to nine years' jail.

July 2006: Biddle was freed under an extended supervision order.

December 2008: Breached his conditions by coming into contact with a child under 16 and was sentenced to seven months' imprisonment.

2009: Again came into contact with a child and was jailed for another seven months.

April 2012: Breached his supervision order a third time. A warrant for his arrest has been issued.

- The Dominion Post

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