Knox headmaster's failure to volunteer information not a crime, inquiry hears

The Guardian
August 10, 2015

Dr Ian Paterson leaves after giving evidence at the royal commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney, earlier this year.

A former headmaster of Knox Grammar did not commit a crime by failing to give police information about alleged sexual assaults at the elite private school, the child abuse royal commission has heard.

Counsel assisting the commission David Lloyd has sought findings against Dr Ian Paterson under the Crimes Act, it has been revealed.

Paterson, the head of Knox Grammar from 1969 to 1998, gave evidence during an appearance before the commission in March that he had not told everything he knew to an investigating police officer.

But Paterson later retreated from the admission and told the commission he had not misled police.

The commission heard on Monday that Lloyd, in a written submission to the commissioner on the Knox investigation, had sought findings against Paterson under sections 315, 316 and 319 of the NSW Crimes Act.

The sections relate to hindering an investigation, concealing a serious indictable offence and perverting the course of justice, respectively.

The submission has not yet been made public but Paterson’s lawyer, Jim Harrowell, told the commission: “The findings that are sought against Dr Paterson are findings in relation to three sections of the Crimes Act.

“If Dr Paterson did not tell or volunteer information, that is not a breach of section 315.”

Harrowell also said there was “a paucity of evidence” for any finding of concealing a serious offence in relation to Paterson not telling police about a 1988 incident in which a balaclava-wearing intruder sexually assaulted a boy in his dormitory bed at the school.

The hearing has adjourned.



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