Petition calls for charges against GP to be dropped
MORE than 1500 people supporting a Grafton GP facing charges of stealing children have signed a petition calling on Federal Attorney General Christian Porter to drop the charges against him.
The GP, Dr William Pridgeon, 64, has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to defeat justice and one count of dealing in the proceeds of crime. Another man, Patrick O'Dea, 63, was charged with two counts of conspiracy to defeat justice, one of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence and one count publishing an account of proceedings.
Queensland man Arthur Doubleday, 83, faces two charges of dealing with the proceeds of crime.
International activist organisation The Women's Coalition has raised the petition on through Change.org.
The petition begins:
"We, the undersigned, demand Attorney General Christian Porter dismiss the charges against Dr. William Pridgeon, Patrick O'Dea, Arthur Doubleday, and all others indicted in 'Operation Noetic'."
Dr Pridgeon and Mr O'Dea were taken to Grafton Police Station for questioning on Wednesday. The pair were charged and refused bail at Grafton Local Court on Thursday.
Both were extradited to Queensland on Friday where they were granted bail in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.
The co-accused were required to surrender their passports and cannot visit Queensland, unless for court appearances, as a condition of the bail. Both men must wear GPS trackers.
"We do it because we cannot abide children being raped," Dr Pridgeon told media outside the court.
The pair will return to court in December and will reside in Grafton while on bail.
Commonwealth prosecutor Christine Wilson objected to the bail, arguing both men would fail to show up for court.
"(Pridgeon) is unlikely to commit unrelated offences, but the level of sophistication, particularly with encrypted communication, is quite high," she said.