Rapist eligible for parole since 1998 denied release
Serial rapist and killer Barry Whiteoak has lost his latest bid for release but his future remains a headache for the state's parole authorities.
The killer, 71, who was in Australia from his native England on a visa when he attacked two young women and brutally murdered nurse Noreen Hannon, has spent 35 years behind bars and wants to return to his native Lancashire.
But the Supreme Court has today ruled that it is still not safe to release him despite being eligible for parole since 1998.
Whiteoak, who once successfully sued Corrective Services for discriminating against him because he is British and could not get day release or he would be deported took the State Parole Authority to court paid for again by Legal Aid.
He argued the authority have had no power to stop him going home after his visa was cancelled in 2008.
On Thursday, convicted sex offender and former Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes has had his parole application refused when the SPA said he would be immediately deported to the United Kingdom, where he would not be monitored or subject to parole conditions.
It is the same case with Whiteoak because there remains no reciprocal agreement between Australia and the UK for released prisoners to serve parole in another country although it has been discussed quietly between governments.
The court heard that despite his behaviour in jail being "close to perfect", Whiteoak remains too dangerous to be released and has not come to terms with his offending, continuing to blame the victims.
He raped, stabbed and strangled Ms Hannon, 25, who was a total stranger, in Parramatta on September 25, 1983. At the time he was on parole for rape which he had committed while on bail for indecent assault.
He was convicted of Ms Hannon's murder and sentenced to life however, in 1994 that sentence was changed to life with a non-parole period of 15 years under truth in sentencing laws.
A psychiatrist has told the parole authority: "Mr Whiteoak would require ongoing participation in a community based sex offender program to reduce risk of recidivism when he would have increased access to potential victims in the community."
But Whiteoak had argued that any concern for community safety, if he were to be released, was a concern for the UK and the law did not give the Parole Authority the right to be concerned with community safety beyond NSW or Australia.
He would be met by police on his return and charity Prisoners Abroad would help him with accommodation but there would be no restrictions on his movements. Ms Hannon's family, who live in Ireland, are terrified he could seek them out and they have been refused a photograph to see what he looks like now.
Ms Hannon's boyfriend at the time, Michael Maher, has continued to fight to keep Whiteoak behind bars, representing her family in court.
"He is decreasing his chances of ever being released because of his attitude towards blaming the victim for his problems. He only has himself to blame," Mr Maher said today.
The State of NSW wants Whiteoak to remain behind bars and had argued that if he won his argument, it could lead to the conclusion all foreign inmates who would be deported on release should automatically be granted parole when they become eligible.
Justice Jeffrey Bellew said a necessary part of the law was the rehabilitation of offenders and addressing the risk of recidivism and if Whiteoak was released to be deported to the UK now, it would effectively put aside the question of rehabilitation, irrespective of how dangerous the offender was, and irrespective of the level of risk that he or she posed".
He will be reconsidered for parole every 12 months.
Whiteoak is just the latest in a long line of notorious criminals from the UK. Among those who have been sent back include serial killer Archie McCafferty, who killed four people, was sentenced to life and deported to Scotland in 1997, and self-described cockney spiv Keith Herring who drowned his wife.
In 2012, Herring, who attacked the judge during his trial, was thrown off two commercial flights after trying to urinate in the aisle and abusing and spitting at passengers and crew before take-off. He was eventually returned to the UK in handcuffs surrounded by five guards.