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Court of Appeal blocks move to release killer-rapist Mark Richard Lawrence

Queensland’s highest court has blocked an order to immediately release notorious rapist turned killer Mark Richard Lawrence to live freely in the community.
Brisbane-based Court of Appeal judge Robert Gotterson on Tuesday granted an application by Queensland’s Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie to stop the release of Lawrence from custody by way of a strict supervised release order.
Lawyers for Mr Bleijie launched stay proceedings of Friday after Supreme Court judge Philip McMurdo ordered the killer be released from custody and set aside a decision made in 2008 that required the prisoner’s ongoing detention because he was a serious danger to the community.
Justice McMurdo said the community could be adequately protected should Lawrence be released under a strict supervision order and bound by 31 conditions including that he have no contact with children, stay away from shopping centres, be subject to curfews and be subject to ongoing drug and alcohol testing.
However, Mr Bleijie launched an immediate appeal against the decision and won an eleventh-hour order to detain Lawrence over the weekend and applied for Justice McMurdo’s decision to be stayed pending a hearing by a full Court of Appeal bench.
Justice Gotterson granted the stay Tuesday morning saying that Mr Blejie “does have a point that is reasonably argued on appeal.’’
In his written decision, Justice Gotterson said: “I am of the view that the availability to (the A-G) of an arguable ground of appeal together with the nature and degree of (Lawrence’s) risk of harm to others combine to warrant a stay of (Justice McMurdo’s release) order.’’
A date has yet to be set for the appeal hearing.
Lawrence, now 52, has been behind bars for more than 30 years.
He was convicted of assaulting male and female children in 1978 and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment as an involuntary patient in Wolston Park Hospital a year later.
He escaped Wolston Park Hospital in 1981 with three other patients and tried to rob a taxi driver, for which he was sentenced to four-months imprisonment.
Two years later, on Boxing Day, 1983, Lawrence, then aged 22, and another killed fellow patient Julie Anne Muirhead by cutting her throat with a broken bottle.
The men tried to hide the evidence by setting her body alight. She wasn’t found on the Wolston Park Grounds for several days.
It was revealed Lawrence had planned to rape and kill the woman.
He was acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility and sentenced to 15-years jail.
He raped a fellow prisoner in October 1999 and was twice convicted after trial when the first was quashed by the Court of Appeal.
Lawrence was sentenced to seven years jail for the rape, imposed in 2002.
That sentence expired on February 7, 2008 but he was held in custody indefinitely under the terms of the Dangerous Prisoner (Sexual Offender) Act 2003.
This was Lawrence’s sixth attempt to secure release from jail after he won a historic legal challenge to tough new sex offender laws in December.


www.news.com.au (6-5-2014)
http://www.news.com.au/national/queensland/court-of-appeal-blocks-move-to-release-killerrapist-mark-richard-lawrence/story-fnii5v6w-1226907210499


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Killer rapist Mark Richard Lawrence set to walk free from Brisbane prison

A Judge has stayed the release of convicted killer and rapist Mark Richard Lawrence until 4pm.
The state’s new solicitor-general, Peter Dunning, QC, applied for a stay of Justice Philip McMurdo’s decision to release Lawrence from jail to a supervision order served in the community and subject to 31 conditions under the Dangerous Prisoner (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003.
The stay preventing Lawrence’s release from the Wolston Correctional Centre will remain in place until 4pm.
Mr Dunning, on behalf of the Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, said an application for a stay of Justice McMurdo’s orders was scheduled to be heard in the Court of Appeal this afternoon.
Barrister John Allen, for Lawrence, said he had no instructions from his client but although there were ``compelling arguments to be made against a stay’’ wanted to wait for the matter to be heard in the higher court.
He said the matter was unable to be brought on any earlier in the Court of Appeal despite ``attempts to secure an earlier time’’.
That would make it likely Lawrence would remain in custody until at least Monday, or longer, while the matter was decided.
The case will likely be heard before Justice Robert Gotterson.
Mr Dunning replaced Walter Sofronoff, QC, who tendered a single sentence resignation letter last month after a public stoush with Mr Bleijie.
Earlier today, Justice Philip McMurdo in the Supreme Court at Brisbane ordered Lawrence be released from custody and set aside a decision made in 2008 that required the prisoner’s ongoing detention because he was a serious danger to the community.
Justice McMurdo said the community could be adequately protected should Lawrence be released under a strict supervision order and bound by 31 conditions including that he have no contact with children, stay away from shopping centres, be subject to curfews and be subject to ongoing drug and alcohol testing.
Lawrence, now 52, has been behind bars for more than 30 years.
He was convicted of assaulting male and female children in 1978 and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment as an involuntary patient in Wolston Park Hospital a year later.
He escaped Wolston Park Hospital in 1981 with three other patients and tried to rob a taxi driver, for which he was sentenced to four-months imprisonment.
Two years later, on Boxing Day, 1983, Lawrence, then aged 22, and another killed fellow patient Julie Anne Muirhead by cutting her throat with a broken bottle.
The men tried to hide the evidence by setting her body alight. She wasn’t found on the Wolston Park Grounds for several days.
It was revealed Lawrence had planned to rape and kill the woman.
He was acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility and sentenced to 15-years jail.
Lawrence escaped custody while playing tennis at Holland Park in 1991, spending a few days on the lam before being sentenced to an extra year behind bars.
He raped a fellow prisoner in October 1999 and was twice convicted after trial when the first was quashed by the Court of Appeal.
Lawrence was sentenced to seven years jail for the rape, imposed in 2002.
The sentence expired on February 7, 2008 but he was held in custody indefinitely under the terms of the Dangerous Prisoner (Sexual Offender) Act 2003.
Lawyers for Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, barrister Jeffrey Rolls, on Friday requested a stay of Justice McMurdo’s release order until midday so they could seek instructions and consider the matter.
It is likely Mr Rolls will be instructed to apply for a stay of Justice McMurdo’s orders.
The call for a temporary stay of Lawrence’s release until midday was opposed by barrister John Allen.
This was Lawrence’s sixth attempt to secure release from jail after he won a historic legal challenge to tough new sex offender laws in December.
Lawrence and serial rapist Robert Fardon mounted a challenge to the new State Government laws on constitutional grounds, with the Court of Appeal ruling in their favour and deeming invalid legislation that would keep sex offenders locked up despite court orders.
Justice McMurdo’s decision to release him came after his sixth Supreme Court review of his case in November last year, which under law is required every two years for individuals held in custody indefinitely under the DPSOA.
In his judgment, Justice McMurdo said he considered new evidence from a psychologist who said Lawrence had developed the capacity to ``form and sustain relationships with others’’ and his behaviour appeared to have ``stabilised’’.
Dr Lars Madsen said Lawrence was ``engaging well in treatment’’.
Psychiatrist Dr Lawrence who had assessed Lawrence at the time he committed the killing of Ms Muirhead told the court she had observed ``changes in the mental state and functioning’’ of the prisoner, and there was evidence of a permanent change in his ``understanding, belief systems and ability to understand his own behaviour’’.
She told the court this went to Lawrence’s ability to register his emotional and impulsive responses to a greater degree than previously as a result of ongoing counselling.
But she said the ``elephant in the room’’ was the continuance, nature and frequency of Lawrence’s deviant sexual fantasies.
``We are entirely dependent on his own articulated statements for an assessment of these, he is quite aware of this and understands their significant,’’ she said.
``His motivation for change and for release is strong and commendable but one must remain cautious about the degree of veracity of his statements regarding his deviant fantasies.’’
Psychiatrist Dr Grant said the recurrence of sadist sexual fantasies and Lawrence’s ability to detect and deal with them was a concern.
He also said Lawrence was ``very institutionalised’’ and would require support and assistance in adjusting to life in the community.
``Overall, in my opinion, the actuarial high risk of reoffending… is reduced by dynamic factors such as his age, lessons he has learned from treatment and his current response to therapy, to a moderate level of risk which has the potential to be reasonably contained by a strict program of supervision and support outside custody,’’ Dr Grant said.
``The major issue will be monitoring Mr Lawrence’s fantasy life and detecting recurrence of any prominent sexual sadistic fantasies.’’
Justice McMurdo said the shift from assessing psychiatrists and psychologists was significant, ``remarkable’’ and supported a case for Lawrence to be released and ``contained’’ subject to an ongoing detention order.
In late 2011, Lawrence was granted supervised release by a Supreme Court judge after two psychiatrists said he was only a moderate risk of re-offending.
But the decision was appealed by the then Labor Government and a stay was issued, blocking Lawrence’s release.
Lawrence is serving out his term at the Wolston Correctional Centre.


www.couriermail.com.au (2-5-2014)
Brooke Baskin
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/killer-rapist-mark-richard-lawrence-set-to-walk-free-from-brisbane-prison/story-fnihsrf2-1226903163559




Killer to stay in jail until A-G's appeal

A convicted killer and sex offender is to stay behind bars until Queensland's attorney-general can appeal against a court decision to set him free.
Mark Richard Lawrence was to have been released from jail yesterday on a strict supervision order made under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003.
Lawrence has spent almost all of the past 28 years in jail for a raft of offences including manslaughter, rape and sexual assault.
In 2008 a court ordered he be detained past his release date as he was still regarded as a serious danger to the community.
However, Brisbane Supreme Court justice Peter Lyons rescinded this order last week and instead ruled that Lawrence should be released under the supervision order.
Lawyers acting for Attorney-General Paul Lucas made an emergency application yesterday morning to stay Justice Lyons's decision until they could launch an appeal.
The stay was granted in the Court of Appeal in Brisbane and was extended today until the matter goes before the court in early November.
Lawrence is to remain in jail until then.


www.brisbanetimes.com.au (25-10-2011)
Christine Flatley
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/killer-to-stay-in-jail-until-ags-appeal-20111025-1mhuk.html


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