The 4000-strong register is intended to protect the community from people such as Bradley Paul Eddy, 59, who has been on the list since his release on parole in 2011 for the sexual assault and murder of teenager Leigh Bradley, whose half-naked, strangled body he dumped in the bathtub at his grandmother’s house.
The 4000-strong register is intended to protect the community from people such as Bradley Paul Eddy, 59, who has been on the list since his release on parole in 2011 for the sexual assault and murder of teenager Leigh Bradley, whose half-naked, strangled body he dumped in the bathtub at his grandmother’s house.

Freed sex offenders unmonitored due to register errors

Perverted child sex offenders have been free in the community without being monitored by police in systemic failures of the state's sex offenders register.

A damning report by the police watchdog released on Wednesday has found that while some paedophiles were totally missed, other people who should never have been on the register have been wrongly convicted and even unlawfully jailed for failing to report to police.

Police have made more than 700 incorrect decisions about which offenders to include on the Child Protection Register since it was set up in 2001, the report by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission has revealed.

The mistakes have been blamed on overworked and understaffed police unable to handle the increasing workload.

The 4000-strong register is intended to protect the community from people such as Bradley Paul Eddy, 59, who has been on the list since his release on parole in 2011 for the sexual assault and murder of teenager Leigh Bradley, whose half-naked, strangled body he dumped in the bathtub at his grandmother's house.

Police have been aware for years of problems with the register and five years ago the specialist unit in the State Crime Command responsible for maintaining the register started filing internal reports warning of systemic issues causing inaccuracies.

The Child Protection Register is designed to protect the community from sex offenders such as convicted killer Bradley Eddy, who was living in Wagga Wagga in 2018. There is no suggestion any errors have been made in the monitoring of Eddy.
The Child Protection Register is designed to protect the community from sex offenders such as convicted killer Bradley Eddy, who was living in Wagga Wagga in 2018. There is no suggestion any errors have been made in the monitoring of Eddy.

The multiple reports from the police about the Child Protection Registry inaccuracies led to a review of 5,749 files which took two years and concluded that 44 per cent, or 2,557 of those case files, had contained errors.

It was not until late last year that registry staff were given access to Corrective Services NSW databases and JusticeLink, which is used to record court outcomes.

In 2009 there were 2376 people on the register, and the number has now risen to 4344. However at some point prior to 2014 these systems started malfunctioning.

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission, in Operation Tusket, found problems ranging from the courts not alerting police that an offender should be on the register to offenders being released without the knowledge of the police because records showed them still being in jail.

The commission has recommended the registry get more staff and be reviewed by an independent body.

 

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.