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Parole law changes mean Jill Meagher killing 'couldn't happen today'

The parole system in Victoria has been overhauled in the wake of Jill’s murder, a state minister says.

The mass card from a memorial service held for Jill in Drogheda last October
The mass card from a memorial service held for Jill in Drogheda last October
Image: Julien Behal/WPA-Rota/Press Association Images

THE PAROLE LAWS in Victoria are now the ‘toughest in Australia’, the state’s minister for crime prevention has said.

Edward O’Donohue’s comments come after it emerged this week that the man who raped and murdered Irish woman Jill Meagher in Melbourne was out on parole at the time of the attack in September of last year.

The lifting of a supression order on Tuesday meant it could be revealed that Adrian Ernest Bayley had a long history of violence against women and had been out on conditional release when he abducted and killed the 29-year-old.

Authorities failed to cancel his parole despite a violent assault and a warning from a sitting judge that the public needed protection. It’s understood the parole was not revoked because the crime was not of a sexual nature.

“Victoria’s parole system is now the toughest in Australia, and if a similar incident occurred again the accused would be back in jail,”  Minister Edward O’Donohue told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

We made changes to the parole legislation so if someone convicted of a violent or sexual offence is paroled, and they’re charged with another offence, they are brought back to the parole board with an assumption that their parole is cancelled.

The minister said the state was conducting a review of the parole board itself which was being done by a senior retired judge.

41-year-old Bayley – who pleaded guilty earlier this year to the rape and murder of the young Louth woman – was on conditional release last September for raping five prostitutes in 2002.

Initially sentenced to 11 years in prison, he was released on parole in 2011.

The lifting of the supression order during Bayley’s appearance at the Victorian Supreme Court this week meant it could be revealed he had already raped 21 times before the attack on Jill.

Bayley’s lawyers told the sentencing judge that he accepts that he should be jailed for life. He will be sentenced next Wednesday.

Read: Adrian Bayley was on parole when he raped and killed Jill Meagher >

Australian broadcaster to ‘fight Jill Meagher contempt charges’ >

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