Men sentenced for helping parental abductions of children

Two men have been sentenced after being prosecuted in a long-running AFP investigation into a group of people allegedly assisting the parental abduction of children across Australia.

Between 2018 and 2019, nine people were charged by the AFP as part of Operation Noetic.

An 84-year-old Townsville man was today (Friday, 21 August) convicted in the Queensland Magistrates Court and released on a $2000, 18-month good behaviour bond after receiving a recognizance release order.

He pleaded guilty to one count of dealing in the proceedings of crime to the value of $1,000 or more, contrary to section 400.6 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

This follows the jailing on 12 March 2020 of a 38-year-old Bateau Bay man, who was sentenced to two years imprisonment in the District Court of New South Wales following his guilty plea to the following two offences:

One count of publishing an account of proceedings, contrary to section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

One count of dealing in the proceedings of crime to the value of $10,000 or more, contrary to section 400.4 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The Bateau Bay man maintained a website and social media pages, where he and other alleged offenders published material relating to proceedings before the Family Court of Australia, as well as other harassing and offensive material. For this, he was paid $1,500 by the Townsville man and $28,500 by another alleged offender.

Seven other people charged as part of Operation Noetic are currently before the courts on a variety of offences, including conspiracy to defeat justice, child stealing and stalking. They are scheduled to appear before Brisbane Magistrate's Court next month for a committal hearing.

AFP Commander Crime Paul Osborne, said the men sentenced committed serious criminal offences, intent on undermining the judicial system.

"Laws such as these are designed to safeguard the integrity of our judicial system and to protect those vulnerable people who are involved in proceedings before the Courts, including the Family Court of Australia," Commander Osborne said.

"The AFP will not hesitate to act on criminal offences that ultimately deprive children of the opportunity to lead a normal life, regardless of their particular family situation."

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