Courtroom sketch of Robert John Fardon, who is being considered for unsupervised release into the community.
Courtroom sketch of Robert John Fardon, who is being considered for unsupervised release into the community. File

Gunpoint rapist Fardon less psychopathic now, doc says

EVEN psychopaths can change their spots.

That's what a psychiatrist told a hearing into notorious gunpoint rapist Robert John Fardon.

The 70-year-old's release or proposed release conditions have sparked multiple political firestorms.

When the rapist originally from Tweed Shire in NSW was released into Ipswich in Queensland in 2007, intense political backlash followed.

And in September this year, Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath lodged an urgent bid to stop Fardon's unsupervised release.

On Friday, Justice Helen Bowskill heard from psychiatrists discussing Fardon's personality and offending risks.

Clinical and forensic psychiatrist Dr Scott Harden said Fardon previously lacked respect for "laws, rules, and the rights of others".

Those obnoxious traits were linked to Fardon's psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder.

But Dr Harden told Brisbane Supreme Court that psychopathy can change with age and in Fardon's case it seemed to be declining.

The Attorney-General has opposed Robert John Fardon's unsupervised release.
The Attorney-General has opposed Robert John Fardon's unsupervised release.

Another specialist psychiatrist, Dr Michael Beech, said there was evidence Fardon's "impulsivity and volatility" were not as pronounced as before.

Dr Beech said Fardon's reoffending risk was low but could not be completely ruled out.

And if Fardon did strike again, it would most likely be against a "vulnerable" person known to him, Dr Beech said.

Justice Bowskill heard Fardon was an "opportunistic" offender but was not diagnosed with pedophilia.

Fardon has been offending since the late 1960s and once raped a 12-year-old girl at gunpoint.

Dr Beech was asked how Fardon might react to stressors, such as a crowd of protesters approaching or haranguing him.

The psychiatrist said Fardon would probably get depressed, even suicidal, rather than act out sexually or get sexually preoccupied.

Justice Bowskill heard Fardon was generally mistrustful and once believed his personal details were "leaked" to media.

After a heart attack, Fardon didn't want to go to hospital because he thought his infamy might prevent him getting proper treatment, the court heard.

Dr Beech also described Fardon as domineering and prone to emotional bluster.

In Queensland, jailed sex offenders due to be released can get supervision orders, release on parole with supervision, or continued detention.

Justice Bowskill reserved her decision. -NewsRegional



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