ANNE MATHER | July 23, 2011 12.01am
AN advocate for abuse victims fears convicted sex offenders have been using a loophole in the law to change their names after release from prison.
Beyond Abuse spokesman Steve Fisher said yesterday it appeared a convicted Tasmanian pedophile had changed his identity since moving interstate.
Mr Fisher said former Anglican priest Garth Stephen Hawkins was now in South Australia and had allegedly changed his name by deed poll to “Robin Goodfellow”.
Mr Fisher, who is one of Hawkins’ victims, said convicted sex offenders were able to change their name under Tasmanian law up until only four weeks ago.
Mr Fisher said the legal loophole which allowed sex offenders to change their names had been raised as an issue nationally three years ago, but Tasmania had been slow in amending the legislation.
“This would never have happened if the Government had done what it was meant to do,” Mr Fisher said. “We want an apology.”
The Tasmanian Government passed the Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Amendment Bill on June 16 this year, which allows the Police Commissioner the right to veto an offender changing their name.
Hawkins was jailed in 2003 on 11 counts of sexual abuse of boys he met through his work as an Anglican priest at East Devonport, Triabunna and Hamilton. He admitted abusing seven youths, aged between 13 and 18, in the 1970s and 1980s.
Hawkins moved to South Australia when he was released from jail two years ago.
Mr Fisher said he recently learned of Hawkins’ alleged name change from someone in South Australia who is writing a book about pedophiles’ links to the Church of England Boys Society from the 1960s to 1990s.
Mr Fisher said he was appalled by the name Robin Goodfellow, because it appeared to be taken from Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“The biggest kick in the stomach was the name Robin Goodfellow — he is known as the naughty fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and in medieval times Robin Goodfellow was known as the devil,” he said.