EXCLUSIVE: A longtime senior Liberal Party adviser who was once the right-hand man to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and has been charged with raping two young children can eventually be publicly named by the courts despite the media’s claims to the contrary so far, reports Serkan Ozturk.
More than six months ago, in November 2020, shockwaves reverberated throughout Macquarie Street and NSW Parliament House when media reports announced that a Liberal Party staffer who was until recently a senior adviser to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian had been charged with multiple counts of raping two children – a girl and a boy – while they were between the ages of only 8 and 10 and under his care.
It is believed the alleged offender, who was 41-years-old at the time of his arrest late last year, was between the ages of 15-17 when he allegedly raped the two young children on multiple occasions between July 1994 and December 1996.
The following year, in 1997, the alleged child rapist then commenced university studies in Sydney.
After also gaining a journalism degree from a college, the man would end up briefly working as a journalist before becoming an adviser for various state and federal Liberal Party MPs, including for Barry O’Farrell until his resignation as state premier in April 2014 for corruptly accepting a $3,000 bottle of Grange Hermitage wine.
The alleged offender then headed into a stint in corporate communications away from politics.
According to previous media reports, NSW Police began an investigation into the child rape allegations against the man about five years ago, sometime in 2016. It is unclear as to why it took NSW Police four long years to investigate the claims before they eventually charged the man.
Interestingly, the alleged offender and his wife – who has also worked closely with the Liberal Party as well as having close links with Berejiklian for over a decade – sold their home on Sydney’s northern beaches for more than $2 million in late 2016.
Moreover, information cited by True Crime News Weekly suggests the alleged child rapist is now a father himself, with at least one young child with his wife.
Then, in early 2017, some months following the commencement of the police investigation, the alleged child rapist was given a senior media strategy position in the office of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian; who had at that time just recently replaced the deeply unpopular ‘Casino’ Mike Baird in the top job.
For the next two years, the alleged child rapist then worked closely with Berejiklian on a range of political matters and issues.
Suddenly though, after about 24 months in Berejiklian’s office, the man resigned from his position in early 2019.
In an amazing coincidence or event of great serendipity, the wife of the alleged child rapist then just so happened to be given a plum $200,000 role with Berejiklian’s office in the very same month. It’s a family affair, as the great funk visionaries Sly & The Family Stone once sang.
The alleged child rapist, meanwhile, was then rewarded with a fast-tracked made-up job in the government infrastructure sector for which he was paid more than $250,000 of taxpayers’ money for six months ‘work’ until the end of 2019. This bit of ‘creative’ (nay, corrupt) recruitment has since been the subject of various inquiries and has resulted in at least one senior infrastructure executive losing their job. The job had not been advertised and did not even exist before it was given to the alleged child rapist along with the huge bundle of cash he supposedly earned for all that hard work.
A cynic might say some wheels may have been greased by those in the know within the Liberal Party to allow the alleged child rapist one last large pay day before his once high-flying career was to come to a halt when he was eventually charged by police over the multiple sexual abuse offences, which ultimately came in November 2020. Before his arrest, the alleged child rapist’s last role after his six-month taxpayer funded ‘job’ came to an end was as a political lobbyist in the private sector for a multinational infrastructure firm.
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The media has so far refused to publish the identity of the former Liberal Party hotshot and alleged child rapist on the grounds that it is illegal to name him “as he was a juvenile at the time of the alleged offending in the mid-1990s”.
The most recent media report about the man’s rape trial came in the Daily Telegraph six months ago, in December 2019, where it was reported the alleged child rapist had faced Manly Local Court and granted continuing bail. It is unclear if the man’s trial has been heard in front of a judge since the turn of the year.
However, the claim that the media is unable to legally name the alleged child rapist is not quite the full truth of the matter. Because the law as it currently stands in NSW does indeed allow for certain concessions to publish the names of adults charged with committing crimes when they were juveniles.
The first concession is if the now-adult alleged offender gives permission for themselves to be identified. That, obviously, may be unlikely in this case.
In any event, the more likely route for the alleged offender eventually being publicly named will fall to the trial judge hearing the court case.
According to the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act, an adult who was a juvenile at the time of the crime may be named in NSW during their sentencing hearing if they are found to have committed a “serious children’s indictable offence”.
A “serious children’s indictable offence” refers to crimes such as homicide and offences carrying a maximum penalty of life or 25 years’ imprisonment, as well as some firearms offences, and importantly in this particular case, serious sexual abuse and rape offences. The court must be satisfied that naming the offender is in the interests of justice (as well as the public interest) and that any prejudice to the offender arising from such an identification does not outweigh those interests.
Before imposing such an order to publicly name an offender who was a juvenile at the time of an offence, the judge will take into account the level of seriousness of the offence, the effect of the offence on the victim, general public deterrence, the subjective features of the offender as well as the offender’s prospects for rehabilitation.
Indeed, there is even a recent real-life precedent where the courts in NSW have allowed for the name and identity of a juvenile offender to be published by the media and public.
Matthew Milat – the depraved violent nephew of the depraved violent rapist and serial killer, Ivan Milat – was only 17-years-of-age when charged in 2010 with the brutal axe-torture murder of his 17-year-old friend, David Auchterlonie.
The judge in the case allowed Milat to be named by media before he was sentenced in mid-2012 for murder. Milat, and his co-accused – friend Cohen Klein – had both plead guilty in late 2011 after police discovered a mobile phone video recording of the slaying that eerily took place in the same Belanglo Forest in which his uncle Ivan raped and murdered numerous backpackers and hitchhikers.
Considering that the sexual abuse of children and rape are widely considered some of the most heinous forms of crime along with murder and manslaughter, it may also be argued that perhaps this particular case too is very much in the public interest. Particularly when history does suggest that child sexual offenders may offend throughout their life and may not only have one victim, or one set of victims.
With Nationals MP Michael Johnsen retiring from the NSW Government a few months ago following allegations he raped a woman coupled with reports that Liberal MP Gareth Ward – a close ally of Premier Berejiklian – is under investigation by the NSW Police child abuse squad, and the rape and sexual abuse accusations faced by others linked to the federal Liberal Party – such as Bruce Lehrmann, Christian Porter and Frank Zumbo – it may be a prudent argument to make that eventually naming this alleged child rapist is very much clearly in the public interest. For far too long in Australia, powerful men have believed they can rape women and children with impunity.
In fact, if True Crime News Weekly receives enough community support and the courts refuse to eventually name this man, we may elect to publicly identify the alleged child rapist ourselves despite the prospect of a $5,500 fine and up to 12 months imprisonment if we do choose to inform the public of their right to know.
Breaking a law which was meant to protect juveniles with little social or political power and allow for their rehabilitation is no real moral or ethical quandary for us if that law is being partly used as a smokescreen for a grand political cover-up that goes right up to the top.
Ethics and morals should always come before the law because as history shows us evil and gross events – such as apartheid, genocide and the rape of women in marriage and so on – have been deemed legal by various codes of law. While, on the other hand, ordinary everyday practices such as homosexuality or even drug-taking have been deemed by a narrow band of elite society as against the law. Anyone with a spot of wisdom can recognise both ethically and morally that raping two children under the age of 10 on multiple occasions is wrong, regardless of the law. Equally, it should be recognised that doing the morally right thing is sometimes beyond simply following the law and that sometimes the only moral thing to do is to break a law that may be harming the community or protecting the powerful, such as in this instance.
As it stands, the alleged child rapist’s name is already widely known and common knowledge, at least amongst media, business and political circles.
At any rate, if these type of ‘scandals’ continue for much longer, it’s perhaps fair to start thinking the Liberal Party may accommodate alleged sex offenders and rapists even moreso than embattled professional sports leagues like the NRL, or even the notorious Catholic Church and their dismal communion of paedophile priests.
It’s also the latest moral and political headache for Premier Berejiklian who with the help of a limp and compliant media has, for the time being at least, managed to brush off highly questionable decisions as well as her own very personal connection to dodgy behaviour.
First, there was the Ruby Princess COVID ‘plague ship’ debacle, then details were aired in ICAC of her corrupt long-term ‘secret boyfriend’, the married MP Darryl Maguire – who had a spare key to the rear entrance of her home for years. And now a man she has closely known for over a decade and considers a friend is alleged to have raped two children on multiple occasions for over two years until just prior to his own 18th birthday. Such a load would be a heavy burden on anyone.
Needless to say, children (and adults) require protection from sexual predators while the community-at-large also deserves protection from political predators.
One may seriously need to ask Premier Berejiklian if the public can be assured if that has happened in this case over the last five years.