There are a few people in the main stream media who I admire and right up at the top of that list would have to be Derryn Hinch.
I am well aware that opinions vary on Hinch, he tends to be one of those guys you either love or hate.
Hinch is one who wears their heart on their sleeve, no matter how ugly it may look on the day. He never minces his words, and very few show the passion that he does on the issues he feels are important. Seldom has there been someone in the media driven by such determination, and whether right or wrong you know that he has his heart in the right place and his motives are pure even if on occasion his logic isn’t. Unlike most other journalists Hinch puts himself on the line for what he believes.
For that you have to respect him.
As I write this Hinch is settling in for what is now his 13th night in prison. Hinch is currently spending 23 hours a day in solitary confinement and is allowed one hour a day for exercise.
So why does Hinch find himself languishing in a jail cell until 12pm 8th March 2014?
Hinch was charged with contempt of court for the breach of a court suppression order related to the Jill Meagher murder case, a case which had a profound impact across the country but particularly in Melbourne where Hinch is based.
Hinch was fined $100,000 for contempt of court and told he faced 50 days in jail if he failed to pay the fine.
Now I am not going to go into the debate on whether Hinch should have breached the court suppression or not, I tend to think he shouldn’t have, however it was an emotionally charged issue at the time, and while that may not be an excuse it could be a part of the reason.
For what it was worth however Hinch apologised for his actions and was prepared to cough up the $100K and cop it on the chin.
As Hinch puts it on his website
“…Simon Cooper, the predatory pervert, who sexually assaulted the two teenage sons of a friend. And walked free with a three-year totally suspended jail sentence.”
So who is Simon Cooper?
Simon Cooper is anex-Magistrate who was convicted of sexually assaulting two teenage boys.
The convicted paedophile Cooper was handed down a three-year suspended sentence after receiving a pile of character references from judges and crown prosecutors and the like. Rock Spider, kiddie-fiddler and sick fuck Simon Cooper didn’t spend a night in jail or even pay $1 in fines and due to “judges discretion” didn’t even get put on the sex offenders register.
Given Hinch’s history of getting locked up, forking out for fines and his outspoken stance on paedophiles he thought that it was about time a stand was taken over sentencing.
It seems perverse in the extreme that a paedophile like Cooper can be let off completely while someone like Hinch has spent time in jail and paid fines for simply naming convicted paedophiles in an aim to protect the community.
As we all know Hinch has always had a special pit of bile at the bottom of his stomach reserved for paedophiles.
Never one to let an opportunity pass him by, Derryn decided to make a point of highlighting the stupidity of many of the sentences such as Simon Coopers that are coming out of our legal system.
The best way that Hinch had at his disposal to highlight this was to create publicity by electing for imprisonment rather than paying for a fine.
And highlight the issue he has done.
Hinch by choosing to spend 50 nights in the prison cell that those like Cooper should have been in is also hoping to highlight another issue that is close to his heart, the need for a public register of convicted sex offenders. After all if we do not see the protection of our children from harm as a priority then we have clearly taken a wrong turn somewhere.
The protection of the civil rights of convicted perverts is a noble thing to uphold, but not at the expense of our children.
Hinch has a petition on his website calling for a national sex offenders register and is hoping his long days and nights in a jail cell may attract others to sign it, a link to the petition is below.
The preamble on the petition states
“In Australia, the rights of convicted sex offenders seem to take precedence over victims’ rights. Especially with paedophiles. Serial sex offenders have their names, photos and addresses, suppressed by the courts on release.”
I hope that Hinch’s expectations of how many signatures the petition receives pales in comparison to what he actually achieves, after all nobody is putting more into this campaign than Hinch himself.
I know there has been a lot of negativity around the choices that Hinch has made in this case, however rather than trying to be above the law I firmly believe that Hinch is making a huge sacrifice to highlight flaws within it.
For those reading this who have not yet signed the petition I hope that you will take the minute of your day that is required to sign it, after all Hinch has given up 50 nights to ensure it finds you and no matter which way you lean politically the protection of children should always be above politics.
To keep up to date on events and read Hinch’s posts on the matter you can check out Hinch’s website here.
Although I know Derryn can’t read this in the slammer, if he happens to stumble upon this after he is released I would like to say this to him.
Your efforts have not been in vain, you have created the awareness you set out to raise and I hope you feel comfortable knowing that your nights of discomfort were worth the sacrifice.
Either way for your continued dedication and relentless pursuit of a safer world for our children you have my utmost respect.
In an industry full of wally’s, wankers, and wannabe’s, you are the real thing.
Don’t let the bastards get you down.