Convicted paedophile ‘too fat for jail’
A convicted paedophile has managed to avoid jail over complications relating to his morbid obesity.
Peter John O'Neill pleaded guilty to sexually abusing six boys at three Tasmanian schools in the 1980s when he was a teacher.
But the former teacher, who lives in Canberra, has managed to avoid going to jail in Tasmania after a doctor deemed him medically unfit to travel to the Apple Isle.
O'Neill pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent assault and one count of penetrative sexual abuse of a young person and was sentenced to five years in jail for the horrific crimes.
However his five year sentence was wholly suspended after O'Neill, who weighs 140kg, told the court he suffered from spinal injuries, chronic pain and sleep apnoea.
Chief Justice Alan Blow told the Supreme Court in Hobart that O'Neill "deserves to spend a long time in prison" but would be allowed to complete his entire sentence at home after it was decided the process to get him back to Tasmania was too expensive and too complicated.
As reported by A Current Affair, O'Neill was unable to travel on normal flights or drive a significant distance in a car.
Medical officials estimated it would cost up to $40,000 to transport O'Neill in a special vehicle back down to Tasmania.
Justice Blow also described home detention as "useless" because O'Neill was unable to leave his house without assistance.
Despite that, footage taken by A Current Affair showed O'Neill leaving his house using a walking stick and with a carer by his side.
The convicted paedophile was also seen leaving his house in a car.
When approached in Canberra, O'Neill refused to comment on his condition or whether his obesity was stopping him from returning to Tasmania.
The brother of one of O'Neill's victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told A Current Affair the sentence was appalling.
"The victims have been made fools of," he said.
The man lost his brother after he took his own life following O'Neill's abuse.
Originally published as Convicted paedophile 'too fat for jail'