MP Jarrod Bleijie
MP Jarrod Bleijie Cade Mooney

Bleijie rape comments 'out of this world' says lawyer

UPDATE: AUSTRALIA's top civil rights advocate and expert on criminal law Terry O'Gorman has described Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie as being "in a different universe than the rest of us" after he said rape did not happen in adult prisons.

Speaking as Queensland Council of Civil Liberties vice-president, Mr O'Gorman said it was notorious among defence lawyers that sexual assaults in prison were commonplace.

Mr O'Gorman has worked as a criminal defence lawyer exclusively for 37 years.

"He is so far removed from jails in his lofty position as Attorney General that he is never going to know about sexual assault in jail unless it happens to one of his relatives," Mr O'Gorman said.

"Sexual assault occurs in prison in the same way it does in the wider community.

"That is, in circumstances where the perpetrators ensure they are not seen and where the perpetrators intimidate their victims to shut up and not complain.

"You quickly learn in jail that if you make a complaint, particularly about sexual assault, you will pay for it."

Mr Bleijie made the comments on ABC Coast FM  yesterday in response to concerns by the National Commissioner for Children, Megan Mitchell, that 17-year-olds are at risk of being raped or harmed in adult jails.

"I reject your assertion that you just made that rape happens in jail - we have certain protections," he told the interviewer.

The comment came after the ABC played a portion of an interview with a 17-year-old who said he was raped and given a shot of heroin, almost causing an overdose.

Mr Bleijie admitted jails were not a nice place but maintained that 17-year-olds who did the crime should do the time.

When questioned again about his rape comments, Mr Bleijie said if rape was a problem in jails, he would be hearing more about it and it would be in the media.

"I don't commonly hear that. You have just played a sound bite from a 17-year-old who said he was raped..''

"There are adequate staff to ensure these sorts of things aren't happening.''

The comments have been shared across social networks, prompting angry and dismayed responses.

"This guy's the worst. MT @alexsmann Unbelievable. QLD Att. Gen. Jarrod Bleijie says rape doesn't happen in prisons," tweeted Benjamin Law, a former Sunshine Coast author and feature reporter.

"He actually said that O.o MT @alexsmann Unbelievable. QLD Att Gen Jarrod Bleijie says rape doesn't happen in prisons," Mr Tiedt ‏ responded.

The government has plans to stop diversionary programs for 17-year-old criminals, which could see more heading to jail.

You can listen to what Jarrod Bleijie had to say on prison life here



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