A HUMAN rights lawyer has condemned a proposal for limited public disclosure of sex offenders' details as "a really dumb idea" that could encourage vigilantism.
The Examiner reported yesterday that the Tasmanian government would consider any proposals from a national working group that is examining South Australian and West Australian laws that permit restricted public release of sex offenders' details.
The Victoria Police-led initiative is considering whether to recommend national laws based on the two interstate models.
Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Greg Barns said yesterday the proposal was stupid and would not lower re-offending, but instead had the potential to drive publicly hounded sex offenders to re-offend.
"What this ignores is that 95 per cent of under-age sex offences happen within families or among family groups," Mr Barns said.
"In the United States, there have been a number of very serious assaults, murders and manslaughters, as a result of vigilante activities which have occurred as a consequence of public registers."
Police Association of Tasmania president Pat Allen said the union welcomed measures to make society a safer place, but would be "very cautious" in relation to completely treading on everybody's rights.
"I see what has happened on the mainland," Constable Allen said.
"People who have stopped offending have been attacked."
Civil Liberties Australia Tasmanian director Richard Griggs said police must always be the first people informed of any criminal or other suspicious behaviour.
" Anything that contradicts that important public message or legitimises people taking the law into their own hands should be treated very cautiously," Mr Griggs said.
Furthermore, Mr Barns said there were no equivalent public registers for criminals such as murderers .
"So why are we so obsessed with sex offenders?" he said.
"When people have done their time in prison, that should be the end of the matter and people should get over it."