Parents fire Mark "Chopper" Read from starting Little Aths races
by: Grant McArthur
February 14, 2012
KILLER and standover man Mark "Chopper" Read has been banned from firing the starter's pistol at his son's Little Athletics group.
Read, who boasts of killing 19 people and once attempted to kidnap a County Court judge at gunpoint, had applied for a working with children check in September so he could become a volunteer at the Collingwood Little Athletics club.
The Herald Sun believes his bid was blocked by the Department of Justice because of his extensive criminal record, which has seen him spend 23 years behind bars for violent crimes.
In hospital battling a serious illness, Read has ruled out an appeal to VCAT and has instead removed his son from Little Athletics, claiming the competition was rigged.
Last week the Herald Sun revealed at least two convicted killers had succeed in overturning Department of Justice working with children bans, while more than 40 category one sex offenders have also successfully fought the bans since 2006, prompting a government review of VCAT's appeals process.
Read said he was insulted to be considered a risk to children.
"I should have been given the chance. Who would it have hurt?" he said.
"It is insulting because the ordinary crim - bank robbers, car thieves and burglars - they don't interfere with children.
"It's priests, boy scout leaders, teachers and other effeminate characters that interfere with kiddies. But crooks like me don't interfere with children. It is insulting to even be put in that class."
Read's son Roy, 8, had been attending Little Athletics in Collingwood for a year when Read claims he was asked to volunteer his services firing the starter's pistol.
"They asked me to be the starter, with the little cap gun and saying: ready, set, go," Read said.
"I said: ready, set, go - bang. Ready, set, go - bang. Ready, set, go - bang, and off they went about four or five times.
"Then the lady in charge said there had been complaints ... I won't be able to do it (without) a working with children clearance."
Little Athletics Victoria general manager Dean Paulin said the organisation would have allowed Read to start races had the Government approved his safety check.
A Department of Justice spokeswoman said all applications were assessed in line with the stringent procedures.