'Evil 8' child rapist omitted from sex offender register due to loophole
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'Evil 8' child rapist omitted from sex offender register due to loophole

A loophole in WA's sex offender laws meant 'Evil 8' convicted child rapist, Ryan Trevor Clegg, was not on the public child sex offender register, despite being released back into the community earlier this month.

And it's been revealed Premier Colin Barnett had known since last Friday the child rapist was living metres from a child care centre but failed to take immediate action to protect the community.

Ryan Trevor Clegg running from the media outside court on August 4 after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl.

Ryan Trevor Clegg running from the media outside court on August 4 after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl. Credit:ABC News

Despite meeting the criteria to be added to the offenders list, having admitted his guilt, the only applies to paedophiles who have already been sentenced.

The 43-year-old Clegg had been living at his father's house in North Fremantle since pleading guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court on August 4 to a string of sexual abuse charges against a 12-year-old girl pimped out to multiple men by her own father.

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But was bailed as he awaited what is likely to be a custodial sentence.

Clegg's presence in the community became widely known only after a parent recognised him at a local coffee shop and made their own enquiries - discovering he lived a few doors down from a child care centre.

The child sex offender , introduced in WA in 2012 through a site called Community Protection Western Australia, allows any member of the public to search an online database for child sex offenders living in their suburb.

The database was established to "enhance public awareness and safety", according to the state government website.

A search in recent days of the by a North Fremantle resident who lives two streets away from Clegg, however, failed to return a result for the child rapist.

Clegg has admitted to sexually penetrating a girl four times, indecently dealing with her five times and indecently recording her 48 times.

A spokeswoman for Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan, who approves an offender being added to the , confirmed the applied to convicted offenders who had been sentenced.

Clegg is a convicted paedophile who meets the offending criteria to be added, but still awaits sentencing - now scheduled for September 30.

Mr O'Callaghan did not comment on whether the loophole needed to be reviewed to include convicted, but not sentenced, sex offenders.

Clegg was taken into police custody on Monday night following community outrage he had been allowed to live a few doors down from a child care centre, despite his bail conditions requiring he not be within 100 metres of children.

He was put behind bars after his father removed his surety, which was a condition of his bail.

The child care facility and a nearby primary school were not aware of Clegg's presence in the community until they were alerted by concerned parents.

Barnett knew child rapist was on the loose near child care centre

Opposition attorney general spokesman John Quigley said the state government had failed to protect the community from Clegg.

"The regrettable thing about this is that the Premier was told about this [Clegg living near a child care centre] by his constituents last Thursday," Mr Quigley said.

"His office then informed the attorney general, the minister for police and the minister for education last Friday.

"So the government's known about this dreadful situation since last Friday, and they didn't care about a predator being on the loose.

"They didn't take any action at all until the families contacted myself to get the matter set right."

Prominent Perth QC Tom Percy said it was not unusual for a convicted person to be released on existing bail conditions, pending their sentence, even if that sentence in "the normal course of events" would carry a long prison term.

"Obviously there will be cases where there is an inordinate probability against the person being sentenced to anything other than a very long period of imprisonment," he said.

"But even in those circumstances, judges and magistrates who are dealing with the matter prior to the ultimate disposition are reluctant to not grant bail because they would see it as predetermining the issue before not having all the facts before them.

"I can understand why people will say, 'look he's pleaded guilty, he's going to jail, why don't we just put him in now', but unfortunately that's not the way it works."

Clegg is due to be sentenced in the Perth District Court on September 30.

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He will remain in custody until September 8, when he will apply to have his bail conditions altered to allow for his release.

The state prosecution has indicated it will apply to revoke Clegg's bail at the same hearing.

Heather McNeill covers breaking news with a focus on crime, courts and Aboriginal affairs for WAtoday.

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