Victim’s advocate slams lawyer’s ‘kangaroo court’ media attack in Neil Duncan paedophile case – Michmutters

Victim’s advocate slams lawyer’s ‘kangaroo court’ media attack in Neil Duncan paedophile case

A paedophile convicted of sexually abusing three girls has had his sentencing delayed so he can undergo surgery for prostate cancer and tests for possible bowel cancer, a court has heard.

It comes as a victim’s advocate slammed a barrister for Neil Duncan calling media coverage of the case a “kangaroo court”.

On June 2 Duncan, 67, was convicted in the Queanbeyan District Court on eight counts of sexually touching three girls under the age of 16 in Bega Valley and Kosciuszko National Park in 2019.

The decision by Queanbeyan District Court Judge Robyn Tupman to grant Duncan bail ahead of his planned sentencing today caught the attention of NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman who requested the Director of Public Prosecutions review the bail decision.

Duncan was arrested at a Narrabri Pony Club event a week after his conviction but was re-released after an allegation he breached his bail conditions could not be proven.

After work by victims’ advocates and media coverage of the case, changes came into effect on June 27 requiring a judge to refuse bail following conviction and before sentencing for an offense likely to carry full-time imprisonment, unless special or exceptional circumstances could be provided .

A man in a cloth mask walking down the street.
Neil Duncan leaves the NSW Supreme Court while on bail in July.(ABC South East NSW: Adriane Reardon)

Then in July the NSW Supreme Court rejected a detention application by Crown prosecutors, when Duncan’s lawyers revealed he had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would require surgery in September, thereby falling under the definition of “special or exceptional circumstances”.

Today, Judge Tupman accepted an adjournment application by his defense team which will allow Duncan to undergo surgery at Macquarie University Hospital on September 20 for prostate cancer and undergo further tests for possible bowel cancer.

Judge Tupman adjourned sentencing to allow Duncan five weeks to recover from the surgery.

neil duncan court pic
The NSW Supreme Court dismissed the Crown’s detention application in July. (ABC South East NSW: Adriane Reardon)

“Prostate cancer is not a condition where it is beneficial to delay treatment,” Judge Tupman told the court.

Crown prosecutors objected to the application, telling the court the medical procedures could be taken care of while Duncan was being held in custody.

“People wait a considerable amount of time [in prison] for outside intervention,” Judge Tupman told the court.

Media coverage criticized

The judge said media coverage of the case was “unfortunate”, and given the public attention it had received she could be facing “judicial death” if she did not take the time necessary to read all the submitted documents while considering Duncan’s sentence.

“I’ve been in court almost every day since the jury came out in Queanbeyan,” she told the court.

Crown prosecutors told the court continued delays in proceedings would create “anxiety” for Duncan’s victims.

“The victims are keen to have these proceedings finalized so they can move on,” they told the court.

neil duncan downing
Neil Duncan will be sentenced in Sydney’s Downing Center District court in October.(Facebook: Downing Center)

Duncan’s barrister Richard Pontello SC told the court his client would not answer to media coverage of the case, which he labeled a “kangaroo court”.

Victims’ advocate Ken Steele called Mr Pontello’s use of the term “offensive.”

“Someone like Neil Duncan should be reported on,” he said.

“The suggestion he’s in any way given hard treatment due to media coverage is that it’s the right of the public to keep track of these cases and it’s the media’s job to report on it.”

Duncan’s bail was continued and he will be sentenced on October 24.


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