Light sentence for child sex offender causes furore

2011-11-30 08:48

Sydney – A Tasmanian man convicted of having had sex with a 12-year-old prostitute has been given a 10-month suspended jail sentence after the judge ruled he was driven by the side-effects of medication for Parkinson’s disease.

The ruling has caused a furore in Australia, with critics saying today the sentence was not harsh enough.

Terry Martin (54), a former member of Parliament in the island state of Tasmania, was convicted yesterday in Hobart.

Justice David Porter said Martin’s offence was directly related to medication he was given for Parkinson’s disease, which caused hypersexual desire.

The court was told Martin spent thousands of dollars procuring 162 prostitutes, including the 12-year-old girl, only after he started taking the medication.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported Martin had joined a class action against the makers of a group of Parkinson’s disease medications known as dopamine agonists.

Melbourne law firm Arnold Thomas & Becker is mounting the class action representing 200 people who they say developed a range of addictions, including gambling, sex and shopping, after taking the medication.

“The literature in the common domain and studies undertaken by the drug companies indicate that they knew, or should have known of the side-effects of a compulsive control disorder,” lawyer Allanah Goodwin told the ABC.

“They therefore had an obligation to warn patients for whom their drugs have been prescribed.”

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