Victims Rob McAuley and Gui Williams say they’re delighted their abuser will stay behind bars.A former youth counsellor jailed for sexually abusing seven troubled boys in his care almost 30 years ago in Western Australia has lost an appeal against his conviction.
Allan Keith Huggins was found guilty of 16 offences committed when he was an education officer at the Warminda school-to-work program in 1990 and 1991.
In 2015, he was sentenced in the WA District Court to nine years and three months behind bars.
Huggins took his case to the WA Court of Appeal, arguing there had been a miscarriage of justice but the matter was thrown out on Friday.
He appeared in court via video link and sat quietly as the judgment was handed down within a few minutes.
Victim Rob McAuley said he was “over the moon” with the result.
“It was a lot quicker than I thought it would be,” he told AAP outside court.
Gui Williams said he was still disappointed with the length of the sentence.
“Pedophiles can get off so lightly.”
But Mr Williams said he was glad his abuser was locked up for some time.
“He’s got four walls around him? What have I got and what has Rob got? Our freedom,” he said.
“As soon as I gave my evidence, I felt a lot more at ease … I’m glad today is a really awesome outcome.”
Huggins had presented eight grounds of appeal with “wide-ranging complaints” but was only granted leave to appeal on one about three offences related to one victim.
He claimed documents showed the boy never attended the program but his lawyer failed to tender or make proper use of the documents.
“The verdicts of guilty are not unreasonable. They are supported by evidence that the jury was entitled to accept,” the judges found.
Australian Associated Press