Ten Years Not Enough for Rapist Teacher: Attorney General

By Courtney Trenwith
Brisbane Times
October 22, 2010

The Queensland Attorney General will appeal the 10-year sentence of a Toowoomba Catholic school teacher who sexually abused 13 students.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty earlier this year to 44 sex abuse charges, including 10 counts of rape and one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child.

He was the school's child protection officer at the time of the offences.

Byrnes was sentenced in the Toowoomba District Court on October 4 to 10 years' jail.

He was declared a serious violent offender, which ensures he will serve a minimum of eight years in jail.

There was much public outcry over the perceived leniency of the punishment and the Opposition called for an appeal to extend the sentence.

Today Attorney-General Cameron Dick said he had lodged an appeal in the Court of Appeal in Brisbane.

"The grounds of this appeal are that this sentence fails to reflect the gravity of the offence, that the sentence fails to act as a sufficient deterrence, and that the sentencing judge gave too much weight to factors of mitigation," Mr Dick said.

A date for the appeal has not yet been set.


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