The West

Judge may be  forced to free fiend
Deadline looming: The sex offender could be released. Picture: The West Australian

A man considered a serious risk to the public by prosecutors after he raped a five-year-old child could be released from prison this week, after a judge warned he might not have enough time to consider the case before Thursday's deadline.

Alton Samson is in prison for the brutal rape of the girl in the remote Aboriginal community of Jigalong in May 2007, when he was 19.

The victim was so badly injured by the attack she had to be flown to Perth for treatment.

Despite it being his first sexual offence, and the fact he has a mental illness, the offence was considered so serious Samson was jailed for seven years.

He is due to be released on Thursday, but the Director of Public Prosecutions has applied for Samson to be declared a dangerous sex offender, a process reserved for WA's worst sex offenders.

That would mean his continued incarceration would be considered - but needs to be decided by a judge.

But Justice John McKechnie, who must make the ruling, warned that because of his workload, which includes a murder trial, he may not be able to make the decision in time - which would allow Samson to be freed.

"I cannot guarantee (the decision by Thursday) - I am only one of me," Justice McKechnie said.

The comments come just days after Chief Justice Wayne Martin revealed successive State governments have failed to invest in new resources for the WA Supreme Court for eight years, meaning the situation of growing delays for court cases was likely to get worse.

And Justice McKechnie, who is in charge of the WA's dangerous sex offender list, revealed more frustration after he was told in a separate case there was no room for a Supreme Court trial in Carnarvon until next May.

"If you have a lack of judges, you can't list things as quickly as you'd like," he said.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Our Picks

Follow Us

More from The West