Sisters fight to reveal identity of their abuser

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The two sisters, fighting to have the name of the man who sexually abused them lifted, were nervous as they entered the High Court today.

The two sisters had their own name suppression lifted last year but had to file for a judicial review to get their abuser’s name out in public
Source: 1 NEWS

Anne-Marie Forsyth and Karen Beaumont told ONE News a lot rides on this Judicial Review, as it is a test case for other survivors who want to prevent sex offenders from hiding in the shadow of a victim's statutory protection.

“This is about being able to speak up as a survivor of sexual abuse and being able to tell our whole story,” Ms Forsyth said.

The women had their own suppression lifted last July in the District Court.

“It’s not about them it's about the right of an offender to hide their identity from you from me, from children in the playground to their neighbour,” Sensible Sentencing Trust spokeswoman Ruth Money said.

The pair's lawyer, Nikki Pender told the High Court: "Now there is no longer any need to preserve their anonymity, their abuser's suppression order should automatically lapse or be discharged."

"We say it was never appropriate, but certainly it's no longer appropriate," she says.

The sisters are sitting at the back of the court with a group of supporters.

The defendant, who is fighting against having his name made public, was not in the courtroom today.

Jonathan Eaton, for the defendant, says "The applicants describe this as a test case. It might more appropriately be described as a protest case".

He says in his submission, "had my client known that the suppression order was merely conditional he would have appealed that aspect".

He argued it wasn’t in the interests of justice for the suppression to be lifted after a 20-year delay since the trial in 1995.

He says the sisters belief that his client was only granted name suppression to protect their identity, doesn't withstand scrutiny.

Justice Cameron Mander has reserved his decision. 

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