A SYDNEY judge, who compared incest and paedophile to homosexuality, has been prevented from undertaking any criminal trials until his comments have been investigated.

District Court judge Garry Neilson was reported by Fairfax Media as saying that in the same manner as homosexuality was once seen as taboo, but is now accepted, so “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 went onto say: “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.”

NSW Attorney-General Brad Hazzard said he was deeply concerned and “the community would be rightly appalled” by the comments attributed to Neilson.

“Incest is completely reprehensible, unacceptable, disgusting and criminal,” Hazzard said.

The NSW Government will refer Neilson to the Judicial Commission of NSW in order to ensure community support and “confidence in the judiciary,” he added.

“I will also be writing to The Chief Judge of the District Court to request that His Honour remove Judge Neilson from undertaking any criminal trials whatsoever until the Judicial Commission has dealt with the necessary processes it must undertake.”

Fairfax Media are also reporting that Neilson has been referred by a “senior federal official” to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse and he could become the first judicial officer sacked by Parliament.

The judge’s remarks arose in the case of a 58-year-old man who was charged with repeatedly raping his sister in the early 1980s when she was 18 and he was in his mid-20s.

The man pleaded not guilty to committing sexual intercourse without consent.

Talking to the Star Observer, NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby policy and project officer Jed Horner said: “The comments attributed to the judge are completely unacceptable.”

“Not only do they make a highly offensive comparison between being gay and sexual offences, but they are an affront to members of the community which have experienced sexual abuse in their lives,” he said.

 

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