There is no denying the release of child sex offender and murderer (manslaughter) Michael Guider, in the upcoming days, is not just a slap in the face to Tess Knight, the mother of 9-year-old, Bondi school girl Samantha Knight, killed at the hands of Guider in 1986, and the dozens of his other child abuse victims, but it is also highly likely another child will be sexually abused or again killed by him.
There is no such thing as a rehabilitated Paedophile. It is a vile illness of lingering sick urges that monsters like Guider can never rid themselves. Unless he is being forced to take strong medication or castration to diminish his unnatural sexual urges, he will reoffend.
Convicted in 2002 of the manslaughter of Samantha, a guilty plea saw a reduced sentence of 17 years being handed down. Why manslaughter and not murder? – Guider claimed to police that he had drugged the 9-year-old, resulting in her unintentional death. Easier to prove in court so let’s take his word on that.
I am a strong believer in the campaign for offenders who kill without a body being found, never to be released, ‘No Body, No Release’ should they decide or refuse to identify where they have disposed of murdered and missing bodies.
In Guider’s case this would be a little more complex. While the child killer did tell police that he had dumped Samantha’s body in a dumpster, nobody but he knows the truth behind this information.
More so, Guider who later recanted his confessions, now claims to be innocent of the horrific crime. One could argue if this is now his stance, then the finding of guilt against him, coupled with the fact that he must have then given false information to police, the ‘No body, No Release law could have been enacted, had it been introduced. But like most of these harsher penalties supported by popular public opinion, rarely do they materialise, they are argued, used for political gain, or weakly bumbled into legislation allowing our Magistrates and Judges to work around them, intentionally or otherwise cementing that great divide in opinion between that of the judiciary and us.
If the ‘No Body, No Release legislation did eventually come into play, it should be as simple as the words themselves read. ‘NO BODY’ meaning no body found, regardless of what information was passed on, and ‘NO RELEASE’ meaning no release. Just as ‘LIFE’ should literally mean life, never to see the light of day.
There have been many cases around Australia where serious sex offenders have been held in detention after serving their full sentences. Initially this was under historical laws relating to the mentally insane where offenders were held under her Majesty’s or Governor’s pleasure. More recently the Serious Offender Act Vic 2018 and Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders) Act NSW 2006 were introduced to cater primarily, to provide for enhanced protection of the community by requiring offenders who have served custodial sentences for certain serious sex offences or certain serious violence offences and who present an unacceptable risk of harm to the community to be subject to ongoing detention or supervision.
Obviously the NSW Attorney General made application to the NSW Supreme Court under the Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders) Act NSW where it was refused. Personally I found the judges comments extremely concerning.
Justice Richard Button said the hearing was to assess the risk Guider posed in the future, rather than imposing punishment for his prior offending.
He found that although there was some risk in releasing Guider, further incarceration would not serve any rehabilitative purpose.
While it could not be said definitively that Guider’s sexual interest in children had disappeared, the judge considered he had done all that could be done in terms of rehabilitation in a prison setting.
These comments appear to be somewhat contradictory – Did he not say that the aim of this hearing was to assess the risk Guilder posed in the future or was it to assess whether there was any more that could be done to assist Guider’s rehabilitation within the prison system. It should not be about we have nothing to assist him in rehabilitation, so let’s free him.
As for the mention of Guider's good behaviour being noted by the Judge, this has nothing to do with his actions around children.
Knowing child sex predators and killers like Guider do not reform, The hearing as Button stated clearly should have focussed on the actual and very real risk to the community and in this case children.
Yes, we can talk all day about stringent conditions and monitoring mentioned, but we only need to look to the past to where these measures failed with dire consequence. In this case it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see Guider will reoffend. One way or another he will find a way to get at another child and when he does, don’t expect anyone to be accountable, just more of those statements from the powers that be, voicing system reviews and harsher legislation - mere words and spin.
We are not serious about dealing with child sex offenders. One third of those convicted don’t do a day behind bars and of those that do the average sentence is 18 months.
Here we have a vile cretin with a long history of child sex abuse and the killing a 9-year-old child. To be released after 17 years is not just abhorrent, but a second chance for it to continue his sexual offending and abuse. God help his next victim and their family.