EXCLUSIVE: NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman refuses to say whether he will review the sentence as well as the court’s bizarre decision making in the recent child sex abuse case involving former NRL star Brett Finch. The weak sentence comes on the back of a similar sweetheart deal the courts struck for Brad Burden – a child rapist friend and media adviser to allegedly corrupt former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian – just a few months ago. Serkan Ozturk reports.
Public outrage is widespread and growing over the pitiful sentence handed down earlier this week to former NRL star and Fox Footy co-host Brett Finch, following a court’s seeming willingness to accept a ludicrous excuse that the fallen sport star’s attempts to procure young children to rape was actually a complicated attempt at scoring illicit drugs.
Yet despite the furore, Attorney-General Mark Speakman won’t say whether he will review the sentencing and the court’s decision-making process despite being given three opportunities to do so by True Crime News Weekly.
On Wednesday, November 23 at the NSW District Court, Finch was sentenced to two year’s imprisonment to be served in the community while Judge Philip Mahony also refused to place the ‘wannabe’ child abuser on the Sex Offenders Registry, meaning the convicted sex offender is free to associate with any children at all times. Finch happens to be a member of Australia’s sporting elite Boy’s Club, with his father Robert Finch being the former NRL referees boss.
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The court also bent over backwards to insist that Finch – despite voicing out his desires with other male paedophiles to rape children over a period of at least three months – apparently isn’t a paedophile and is little danger to children.
A friendly psychologist report, which was not challenged by the prosecution, claimed Finch’s criminal interest in raping children was all due simply to his addiction to cocaine.
During the case, Finch admitted that during the time of his offending he was using up to 25 grams of cocaine per week.
At the time, Finch had a regular spot on the Matty Johns Show on Fox Footy, where glassy eyes and coked-up conversations continue to seemingly be par for the course.
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The court also bizarrely highlighted Finch’s attempts to gain close access to young children as a youth football coach as evidence of somehow mitigating his offending, and his attempts to give back to the community. Justice Mahony also claimed Finch deserved some leniency because the mainstream media had the temerity to do its job and widely report on the case.
Finch had come to police attention in late 2021 after they had arrested another sex offender which led them to the FastMeet app that was being used by Finch and other men to share their depraved fantasies. Finch left his series of offending messages seeking boys to rape on the app between November 2020 to January 2021. All messages were made between the hours of midnight and 7am, presumably when the rest of Finch’s family, including his own three-year-old daughter, were sleeping.
Anti-sexual assault advocate, Grace Tame, spoke for many across Australia following the “pathetic” sentence given to Finch, which has also led others to claim is yet another favour done by the judiciary for yet another elite sex offender or paedophile.
“This pathetic verdict is a shame on our nation,” Ms Tame wrote on an Instagram post.
Ms Tame added that the court’s acceptance of “the distorted narrative alleged by Brett Finch that his production of child abuse material was a means of scoring drugs shows just how undervalued children are in Australia.”
In an incisive critique, Ms Tame further elaborated that “narrative is THE instrument of coercive control.”
“Far out. Have we learned nothing?” she wrote.
“Whether his version of events is true or not, it doesn’t change the outcome of his actions.
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“It does not change the fact that he produced child exploitation material.
“It does not change the fact that he engaged with convicted paedophiles thereby aiding and enabling the cycle of abuse culture.”
Ms Tame wasn’t the only person disgusted. The sentence has been criticised widely across the political spectrum.
Right-wing shock jock Ray Hadley was another who said Finch was receiving leniency he didn’t deserve.
“Everyone is entitled to a second chance, sometimes a third chance, but no one is entitled to as many chances as I gave Brett Finch,” Hadley said on his 2GB Radio show.
“Every time I gave him another opportunity, he let me down.”
For all his faults and own demons, credit must be paid to Hadley who has always been consistent in standing up against child sexual abuse, even when like in this case it involves former friends.
A Pattern of Elite Favours for Privileged Paedophiles
The easygoing treatment Finch received this week from the courts isn’t a one-off. His case played out extremely similar to that involving Brad Burden, a close friend and media adviser to allegedly corrupt former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian. In the middle of this year, Burden plead guilty to sexually abusing two children – a twin brother and sister – for a period of up to five years while he was their babysitter. At one point, Burden tried to get the young male victim to give him anal intercourse. Burden had initially plead not guilty and only changed his plea just before a trial was due to commence.
Like Finch, Burden was given a community corrections order and not even placed on the Sex Offenders Registry. According to the facts accepted by the court, by Burden’s own admissions he apparently did not have any sexual relations with anybody for a period of 10 years (after sexually abusing the two children for five years up to the age of 17) until the moment he met his current wife at the age of 27. It would be interesting for anybody to look into what exactly Burden was doing between the ages of 17 and 27 as he was seemingly at pains to tell the court he was “fully heterosexual”.
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Again, similar to the Finch case, a friendly psychologist hired by Burden claimed that his years of prolonged sexual abuse of the two children was all down to simple “immaturity”. He wasn’t a paedophile, he never had since harboured fantasies of raping children, he had somehow miraculously cured himself of all depraved urges without ever once seeking treatment or admitting his crimes prior to police arresting him. The prosecution once again did not challenge the psychologist’s report or seek an independent examination of Burden’s motivations. The prosecution also did not even seek a custodial sentence.
Yet again, a little favour from the elite for one of their own. Let’s not forget, this is a nation that even in the present day happily throws vulnerable Indigenous children into prison on the regular for a whole range of minor crimes. It pays to be White and privileged, even if you’re a paedophile rapist.
True Crime News Weekly is electing to name Burden for the first time now, after the courts threatened this publication in June with imprisonment for our truthful reporting about a cover-up involving the highest elements of the Liberal Party and NSW Police who took a confusing five years to investigate the two victim’s complaints. Perhaps most likely in a bid for the case to be stalled similarly as to how NSW Police hierarchy treated the victim of alleged rapist and former high profile Liberal MP Christian Porter.
However, after it was realised Burden would actually finally be properly investigated by police he was quickly shuffled out of Berejiklian’s office, only to be coincidentally replaced with his wife, also a close friend of Berejiklian. Burden was then given a fake $250,000 job in a six-month role with Transport for NSW, a move which later saw senior executives resign for their corruption. At the time of his arrest, Burden was regarded as one of the most senior media and strategy personnel attached to the Liberal Party, having worked for a range of premiers in NSW and also at a federal level.
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In an attempt to censor our legal reporting, Burden through his lawyers in June 2022 willingly outed himself to Google – the world’s biggest media publisher – falsely claiming that our earlier articles in True Crime News Weekly had revealed his identity to the public, in contravention of Section 15A of the state criminal code preventing publication of the identity of perpetrators who may have committed a sexual offence while they were under the age of 18. The code also states that the convention doesn’t apply if a perpetrator willingly identifies themselves to a media organisation.
“Our client, Mr Brad Burden was charged with various offences on 3 November 2020, alleged to have occurred from 1991 to 1996,” lawyers for Burden wrote to Google.
“At the time of the alleged offending, Mr Burden was between 12 and 17 years old. Since he was under 18 years of age Section 15A applies to his proceedings.”
Burden’s name was publicly and legally available for anybody to see for about three weeks from June 20 to July 12. Burden’s name was only redacted a few days after his sentencing was finalised. As Burden had willingly and freely chosen to identify himself to Google – the world’s biggest media publisher – True Crime News Weekly is simply reporting on factual events as they have occurred. As Google was not part of the proceedings in any way, Burden did not have to contact them. Yet, he did, of his own volition.
During Burden’s sentencing, the judge presiding over the case, Justice John Pickering, saved most of his scorn for True Crime News Weekly for simply reporting the truth of a cover-up in the public interest while at the same time giving Burden a metaphorical pat on the back and hoping he could resume his corporate career soon. Once again, the judge claimed Burden had suffered because of media reporting. Yes, surely he suffered terribly so, just like the two young children he raped for years.
At the time of his arrest, Burden had been the Australasian Head of Public Affairs and Government Relations for British engineering firm Arup which has close ties to the Liberal Party. True Crime News Weekly contacted Arup this week to ascertain if Burden was still working there, but we did not receive a response.
True Crime News Weekly has also publicly challenged NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman to follow through with the bully-boy threats made by Justice Pickering, because it would highlight the hypocrisy of the elite that it is seemingly free speech and a free media that is a danger to society rather than elite paedophiles who rape children for years and then get favour after favour from their elite networks.
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Imprisoning a journalist or fining this publication for our reporting is further proof of a corrupt system that deserves the same contempt it treats the public with.
It should be noted that the judiciary and legal industry itself has hid sex predators and abusers at its highest levels for decades, with former High Court judge Dyson Heydon sadly only being one example who has actually been outed to the public.
Former South Australian magistrate Peter Liddy is another example, who after raping a number of young boys during the 1980s, climbed the ranks of the judiciary all the way to the top.
Australia’s judiciary and legal industry meanwhile relies heavily on a cohort of privileged people, mostly men, who are schooled in abusive misogynistic practices and rituals from their wealthy private school days before largely heading to ‘male only’ university colleges to continue on with their fine traditions of harassment with impunity.
It’s then perhaps easy to see why so often elite sex offenders who share the same membership of the privileged – whether it’s the likes of Brett Finch, Brad Burden or former Catholic Church cardinal George Pell – are given such a light touch when it comes to sentencing, or even let off completely free.
The system was always set up to protect its own.
When True Crime News Weekly contacted Berejiklian to ask if she had any comment to make about her close friend and former longterm media adviser being a child rapist or even had any words in support for child abuse victims, the current Optus executive stayed silent.
“Ms Berejiklian is not available for comment,” a spokesperson for Optus responded. “Optus has no comment.”
Why exactly are the privileged and elite so loathed to actually stand up for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and rape?
It’s a question worth pondering for the ages.
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