Male 'sex witch' wants community return

The Age, Australia/September 15, 2006

A male witch who turned teenage girls into sex slaves has launched a legal bid to be allowed to live in the community.

Robin Fletcher, 49, is living in a unit inside the walls of Ararat prison in western Victoria.

Fletcher used hypnotism and mind-altering techniques to entice two 15-year-old girls into prostitution, sadomasochism and black magic.

He was jailed after pleading guilty to prostituting a child, sexual penetration, and indecent acts against a child aged under 16.

Fletcher completed his 10-year prison sentence in June but is the subject of an extended supervision order under the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act.

He must abide by a raft of conditions imposed by the adult parole board, including only being allowed to leave his unit while escorted by a Corrections Victoria officer.

Fletcher challenged the conditions of the supervision order in the Supreme Court.

His lawyer Alan Marshall said the parole board had refused a proposal that Fletcher live in a property in West Melbourne partly because it was near an area where children congregated.

He said his client was effectively living in solitary confinement with occasional day release.

Mr Marshall said the intention of the Victorian parliament was for offenders to be monitored while living in the community, not within the confines of prison walls.

"Such a draconian position that my client finds himself (in) was not envisaged in the act," he said.

Department of Justice lawyer Peter Hanks, QC, said parliament had given the parole board wide-ranging powers to ensure the safety of both the community and offenders.

He said there was an option available to move Fletcher to accommodation just outside the jail grounds.

Justice Bill Gillard said he did not consider Fletcher to be living in the community when he was living either inside or just outside the prison walls.

He reserved his decision.

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