By BDN editor Ben Smyth
COMMUNITY outrage has been palpable this week as a confessed paedophile remains out in our community on bail.
As a father of young girls I am similarly appalled that Maurice Van Ryn’s crimes can go unpunished – and let’s not split hairs here.
If he is allowed to continue walking the streets, going about his daily life - even if he is facing a potential jail sentence from next year - he is yet to be punished.
This man has committed crimes considered among the most heinous in our society, but apparently not even a guilty plea is enough to have him behind bars.
Meanwhile, his victims have to live with the knowledge the man who preyed on their vulnerability remains in their community.
Banning Van Ryn from visiting his home town of Tathra is hardly going to protect his victims, particularly in such a small community as the Far South Coast.
Are we putting the onus on these young victims to stay clear of Merimbula – or anywhere other than Tathra for that matter – so they don’t have to deal with seeing Van Ryn in the street or eating at the local café?
How is that a fair result of justice?
They should be applauded for their bravery in coming forward and completely supported by this otherwise welcoming and loving community of ours.
Okay so we whack an ankle bracelet on Van Ryn so police know where he is at all times.
Yes it prevents him from being a flight risk ahead of his sentencing…but he’s guilty, not someone awaiting a trial!
The continuing of bail conditions after Van Ryn’s guilty plea was decried by the NSW Attorney General.
I’d be curious about what Brad Hazzard has to say about the judge presiding over the bail review saying Van Ryn is “a model citizen…other than the offending”!
I know I can’t fathom such a statement.
The sight of Maurice Van Ryn walking free makes it almost impossible for the healing process to begin.
One person I have spoken to during this dark spot on the Valley’s history says we shouldn’t come at this issue with hatred.
That is a hard thing to do.
There is no condoning the actions of this man, but this community is in need of healing and we can’t do that with hate in our hearts.