Convicted paedophile dodges prison

Convicted paedophile dodges prison

Convicted paedophile Neil Duncan has again avoided being taken into custody while he awaits treatment for prostate cancer.

The 67-year-old was due to be sentenced on Friday for crimes that prosecutors say will almost certainly mean significant time in prison.

In June this year, he was found guilty of sexually touching three underage girls while serving as president of the Cobargo Pony Club on NSW’s south coast

The crimes took place between 2018 and 2020 at a campground in Kosciuszko National Park and at Duncan’s former property in Bega.

Despite being convicted on eight charges, Duncan was initially granted bail in order to undergo a prostatectomy at Macquarie University Hospital on September 20.

Judge Robyn Tupman ruled on Friday his bail would continue and sentencing be delayed until October 24 in order for him to receive that surgery.

She found if Duncan were to be taken into custody he would need to undergo further testing and assessments within the prison system and it was highly likely his surgery would be delayed.

“People wait a significant amount of time, even for outside medical intervention. It can’t happen in Long Bay hospital or whatever – it will have to happen outside,” Judge Tupman said.

“He’s going to go into custody in due course.”

Crown prosecutor Corrie Goodhand argued against delaying Duncan’s sentencing to help reduce the ongoing impact for victims.

“The victims are keen to have these proceedings resolved so they can move on,” Ms Goodhand said.

Judge Tupman said while she did take into account the victim’s desire to resolve the issue, they could take comfort in Duncan already having been found guilty and that he would eventually be going to jail.

“A period of full-time custody is inevitable for at least the bulk of these offences,” she said.

“The only issue left for them to know is the length of the jail term.”

Duncan’s initial bail release in June prompted an impassioned public pushback spurred by segments of the media.

Defence barrister Richard Pontello SC said Duncan receiving treatment for his illness was in the interest of justice and should not be swayed by “talkback radio” or public opinion.

“Ultimately, he will answer for what he has done” Mr Pontello said.

“He certainly won’t answer to a kangaroo court comprising the media or anybody else.”

Judge Tupman agreed it was “not the sort of condition for where treatment should be delayed.”

Under his bail conditions Duncan is banned from leaving his family’s stud farm in Timbumburi on the outskirts of Tamworth unless in the company of a family member.

He is also explicitly not allowed to attend pony club events across two regions in NSW.

The maximum jail time each of the eight charges carry 10 years in prison.

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