Judge blasts psych reports as waste of money
By Tony Keim
March 28, 2007 12:00am
A JUDGE has labelled psychological reports for accused criminals no use to courts and mostly a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Judge Helen O’Sullivan has been extremely critical of the value of “psych reports” and described an author of one report prepared for a repeat Ipswich child sex offender as living in “fairyland”.
Her comments follow her stinging attack against lawyers who cause trauma to child abuse victims by failing to promptly prepare cases for court.
Judge O’Sullivan said the ongoing practice of both prosecutors and defence lawyers who leave child sex victims in “limbo land” while they engaged in legal “games” as absolutely “disgraceful”.
But last Friday she also took a swipe at a psychologist who prepared a report for Michael William Allwood, a convicted pedophile who pleaded guilty to performing numerous sex acts on a boy, 15. She was told Allwood was subsequently bailed and had exposed his penis to girls aged eight and 11 and later to two women at the Gatton Showgrounds last year.
Judge O’Sullivan, who was appointed to the Bench in 1991, said the psychologist who wrote Allwood’s report was not in touch with the real world and lived in “fairyland”.
On January 29, Judge O’Sullivan was even more scathing of psychologists when a lawyer representing a sex offender made an application in the Toowoomba District Court for adjournment to have his client assessed.
Judge O’Sullivan, in a tart reply, said: “I’m not very interested in psych reports. I think they’re a total waste of time.”
“What’s a psych report going to tell me? I think there’s thousands and thousands of dollars going straight down the gurgler and the psychologists are so tickled pink with us because we’re abdicating our responsibility.”
Australian Psychological Society director and University of Sunshine Coast professor Bob Montgomery said Judge O’Sullivan’s comments contradicted the views of most judges, who placed great credit in the value of reports.