Blaming it on an unhappy childhood gets challenged

johnboy 22 July 2009 20

The Canberra Times reports that tearing up for the courts has not received the usual saloon passage for once:

    The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions told the court that it did not believe Farraway, convicted of terrorising his ex-girlfriend in Canberra last year, had suffered abuse and a family member was on hand to testify that Farraway had a loving and stable childhood. Farraway, who has a long history of violent offences in the ACT and NSW, including the killing of his ex-girlfriend’s dog, told psychiatrist Dr Graham George that he had been abused by both parents who he also accused of being alcoholics.

I particularly liked the reaction of Rodney James Farraway’s lawyer when the prosecutor John Lundy volunteered to produce a sister willing to testify about the family life:

    But the woman was not called to give evidence after Farraway’s barrister, Ray Livingston, said he did not want the hearing ”sidetracked” by an examination of his client’s claims.

In the end Chief Justice Higgins handed down a relatively harsh two years and one month in jail.

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20 Responses to Blaming it on an unhappy childhood gets challenged
Granny Granny 2:27 am 23 Jul 09

Yep, good on you, BerraBoy!!

: )

Thank you!

sunshine sunshine 8:36 pm 22 Jul 09

BerraBoy68 said :

fedup – there are people that may be able to do something about this (i.e. legally change the system) and they do read RiotACT. I’ll make sure they see your post if they haven’t already. I’m sure they would find it as shocking as many of us do.

well done BB68 – this unfortunately happens far too often and the victims are left to pick up the pieces which may/may not happen due to the trauma they have experienced both from the perpetrator and the system

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 6:51 pm 22 Jul 09

fedup – there are people that may be able to do something about this (i.e. legally change the system) and they do read RiotACT. I’ll make sure they see your post if they haven’t already. I’m sure they would find it as shocking as many of us do.

taco taco 6:06 pm 22 Jul 09

This guy sounds like he has real mental problems and shouldn’t be let into the public.

Increasing mental health funding may save police/court resources, and perhaps prevent these sorts of things happening

fedup – I feel really sorry for what you’ve been through. If i was you I’d move far, far away – I hear houses are cheap over in the US at the moment 🙂

Granny Granny 3:37 pm 22 Jul 09

I’m sorry, FC, but it’s just not good enough, for you or fedup. I can’t believe that it can’t be made better.

FC FC 3:28 pm 22 Jul 09

The sad reality is, in many situations like this there is little the courts or the police can do to protect the victim. Everything seems to be too little too late, but until its reached that point, no action is taken.

I was in a similar (yet not so severe) situation 6 years ago. Every step of the way was a battle for me, and a breeze for the perpetrater. The police always arrive too late, the sentences are always minimal (and usually seem to serve just to piss the perp off more) and everything seems to be working to protect THEIR rights. In the end you just haev to uproot your life and the only thing you can do to protect yourself is hide. You learn all to harshly that the ‘law’ cannot protect you.

I have no solutions. I don’t know how it can be made better (without scary comprimises to human rights).
It scares me to think of some of the things I considered diong to get myself out of the situation. Luckily for me, mine had a longer custodial sentence and as I had no children so I could use this time to relocate to live interstate and where he could not find me.

I was very lucky however, as my particular breed of psycho was young, and not as resourceful as some and I was also lucky with my family support and resources at my disposal.

Fed up- I hope you get to be as lucky as me. It seemed like it would never end. However now I can walk through a shopping centre (at last) without having to look over my shoulder all the time. I pray this time will come for you also.

ant ant 3:14 pm 22 Jul 09

Waht he did to the dog is so evil and shocking… how can we let people get away with this? And I sure as hell don’t want them living alongside us, where they can do cruel and evil things to animals, kids, people… What’s to stop them?

Two years in gaol, big whoop. What a horrible person. And all the people he’s affected, what do they do?

And if an “unhappy childhood” is a valid excuse for being a violent, evil person, then let’s round up all the kids currently in less than perfect families, and lock them up, because according to this argument, they’ll have no choice but to turn into psychopaths.

Granny Granny 3:09 pm 22 Jul 09

fedup, I can’t even begin to imagine the nightmare that has become your life. Everyone should have a right to feel safe, and this man has robbed you of that as has the system of justice that should afford you protection.

Finding your little dog sounds like a scene from a horror movie.

I really think society has to get behind people like you and work to see changes that will enable you to live in peace, without fear and terror, whilst preserving what is good in the system we have.

I hope you have support from friends and family. If you ever need a friend or a shoulder, email me –

And I really do have to thank Chief Justice Higgins for trying to give some measure of justice to this lady. Sometimes, when a person’s life has been devastated by crime, the illusion of justice is all they have left. I hope we see more of these sentences in the future.

I also hope that the offender can get themselves sorted out so they can stop hurting other people.

Madame Workalot Madame Workalot 2:50 pm 22 Jul 09

My thoughts are with you and your family fedup. I really hope things work out for you.

Qbn Gal Qbn Gal 2:39 pm 22 Jul 09

+1 Mike

I’m not holding my breath either.

Mike Crowther Mike Crowther 2:26 pm 22 Jul 09

I’m sorry the justice system in this territory has failed for you fedup. The system of psychs making quasi-professional reports to the court based on self-reporting by the crim should not be allowed. I know dozens of cases where bullshitting has allowed people discounts. If a crook wants to claim child abuse/neglect/addiction etc, the let them do it under oath and be subject to cross examination. If they are subsiquently found to have lied, charge them with perjury/pervert course.

Unfortunately, this would require our legislators to be fair dinkum about ensuring court rooms search for truth over cheap expediancy. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Qbn Gal Qbn Gal 2:23 pm 22 Jul 09

You poor, dear girl. The justice system has certainly let you down and I feel sorry for that. I wish you luck for the future and hope that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Best wishes.

Chopper Chopper 1:59 pm 22 Jul 09

yea as i said above.. he is a weirdo that is for sure.

i mean he got smart to me in the watch house and i just told him i would whale him he just cried for medical officers.. so i wouldnt be scared of this man he couldnt fight his way out of a p@#%#ers tea part…

fedup fedup 12:28 pm 22 Jul 09

I’m trying but with custody changes, support networks, trying to find homes that I can afford and everything else it will take more than the 3 months Ive been given.
As for the comment about my dog. How could he not mean to kick it till eventually his brain matter came out his skull and hardly any bones where not broken? by the way my dog was smaller than a full size cat and there was a blood trail left where he tried to get away from Rodney and I was also left with Rodneys ‘signiture’ a painted white cross so I would always remember. I had to leave that house as well.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 12:17 pm 22 Jul 09

Time to move far, far away and make a fresh start, I think.

fedup fedup 12:13 pm 22 Jul 09

I am the victim of this article. If you remember back in October the article ‘alleged danger man’that was my house he was on his way to. This man has terrorised his family and my own to the stage where only my daughter and I rememin in Australia. He may and proberly will get Parole in 3 months, I and my family will still serve a life sentence. He has also commited many other crimes which were not in the article and some he will never be charged with as his victims are to frightened. I suffer nightmares, afraid to go anywhere, have a carer and many other issues as a result of this man but that does not entitle me to use it as an excuse for this kind of behaviour. Rodney has a 4 page long history of criminal behaviour and this is the first time any body questioned his claims. I am also perplexd as to how a 1 hour session with a phyc would does not have any information about his history (other than what he says) can make an informed decision. I also think that time served should only be counted after the offender has pleaded or been found guilty. His ‘served’ his time in remand and out on the street. How is this justice (even though by ACT standards and especially Higgins standards it is a harsh penalty). I know this man and I know that his whole life is about revenge (his record shows this) I will live in fear for the rest of my life and I will be punished for trusting such a convicing con artist. I will never be able to have another relationship yet he already has had several includeing a new one who is willing to use her and her 3 childrens home for his parole address. I’m sorry to say but it is only a matter of time and will Higgins take responsibility for the blood that should be on his hands?

harvyk1 harvyk1 10:49 am 22 Jul 09

I personaly think the unhappy childhood defense should not be allowed for two reasons.

1. There are loads of people who had unhappy childhoods, and yet have been able to turn into productive law abiding members of society. Thus to say you’ve had an unhappy childhood is a copout

2. If you really did have an unhappy childhood, then the law should be setting you on the straight and narrow, and if this mean jail-time then so be it. It should not be a free pass to continue misbehaving.

54-11 54-11 10:44 am 22 Jul 09

What does the court system expect, when every loser gives some sob-story to get a lighter penalty, and until this case, it worked superbly.

It’s time the ACT justice system reminded itself, those that have been charged, their lawyers and medical staff, that in the end we’re all responsible for our own actions.

I wonder if the medico in this case will ever get sanctioned for putting false evidence before the court? I doubt it.

Wraith Wraith 10:16 am 22 Jul 09

Say it isn’t so, Higgins put someone away????

Chopper Chopper 10:14 am 22 Jul 09

this guy is a mentally unwell.. i did an overnighter with him at the watchhouse after an incident in the city. I can tell you one thing that he is a chronic junkie and that he was spewing everywhere… I remember him asking me if i thought it was ok if you killed your girlfriends dog but didnt mean to…. i just laughed at him he is a lost soul.

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