Australia: Judge suspended for claiming incest is no longer taboo because homosexuality is legal

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An Australian judge has been suspended, after claiming that incest can no longer be treated as “unnatural” because people have accepted homosexuality.

Ruling in the case of a 58-year-old man accused of repeatedly raping his sister, District Court Judge Garry Neilson refused to admit evidence from a previous trial where the man had pleaded guilty to a charge of incest.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, he said that given homosexuality had gone from criminalised to accepted, “a jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now available.”

He added: “If this was the 50s and you had a jury of 12 men there, which is what you’d invariably have, they would say it’s unnatural for a man to be interested in another man or a man being interested in a boy. Those things have gone.

“They are both mature adults. The complainant has been sexually awoken, shall we say, by having two relationships with men and she had become ‘free’ when the second relationship broke down.

“The only thing that might change that is the fact that they were a brother and sister but we’ve come a long way from the 1950s … when the position of the English Common Law was that sex outside marriage was not lawful.”

He also claimed that the only reason incest was still illegal was because of genetic problems, “but even that falls away to an extent [because] there is such ease of contraception and readily access to abortion.”

Announcing the suspension, Justice Reg Blanch said: “I have now been advised by the attorney general that he has referred the matter to the Judicial Commission and Judge Neilson will not sit in crime until this matter is determined.”

Dr Cathy Kezelman of Adults Surviving Child Abuse president said: “To equate homosexuality, incest and the crime of child sexual assault is as ill-informed as it is outrageous.

“The relational betrayal of the horrors of incest between a brother and sister of any age is abhorrently criminal.

“Failure to understand that prior abuse disempowers the victim establishing the ground for future assaults is ignorant.

“This together with referring to a sibling as being sexually ‘free’ or ‘available’ demands strict censure.”