Maggie Kirkpatrick, TV star of ‘Prisoner’, to appeal indecent assault conviction
She was found guilty on Thursday of two counts of indecent assault and one of committing gross indecency with a girl under 16.
Kirkpatrick, who lives in Sydney, will move to Victoria to continue the legal fight and comply with the terms of her sentence in the meantime.
She was also ordered to provide a DNA sample, complete a sex offender’s program, and be assessed for rehabilitation.
Kirkpatrick’s name will also be on the sex offenders’ register for the next eight years.
Outside Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday, the woman who was molested by the actor in 1984 said the 31 years of silence about her experience had been traumatic, but she now felt vindicated.
“I feel deeply grateful for this verdict. I feel believed, and now can finally begin the process of healing,” she told the Herald Sun
“I wish to thank my family and friends for their unwavering support and kindness through this traumatic process,” she said.
Magistrate Peter Mealy said had the crimes not been so long ago, he would have jailed Kirkpatrick: “The victim was a vulnerable 14-year-old girl.
“The defendant showed no remorse — instead simply protesting at a distance, in her terms, the untrue and malicious allegations. The vulnerable need to be protected.”
The girl, an obsessed Prisoner fan, was a patient at a psychiatric hospital in 1984, and a TV producer introduced her to Kirkpatrick.
The actor took her home to Prahran, where they dined and watched TV.
It was after that Kirkpatrick ordered the girl to her bedroom. She sent the girl back in a taxi with a jumper and a signed photo of herself.
Kirkpatrick vigorously denied the allegations, telling police she had been being “nice” by taking the young fan to her home on day release.
When will our community dispense with the myopic, misandrist hyper-vigilante mindset of
"Calling all cars, be on the lookout for the bad man. Calling all cars"
Maggie Kirkpatrick, Prisoner star 'The Freak', found guilty of child sex abuse
Kirkpatrick, 74, was on Thursday found guilty of two counts of indecent assault and one charge of gross indecency with a person under 16.
Melbourne Magistrates Court was told Kirkpatrick met a 14-year-old fan in 1984 while the teenager was being treated in a psychiatric hospital for substance abuse and a personality disorder.
The court was closed when the victim gave evidence on Wednesday, but later heard that the victim was given a yellow jumper and a signed photograph after she was abused.
Kirkpatrick drove the girl back to the hospital after the incident.
Magistrate Peter Mealy said he considered the victim a witness of truth and found the charges were proven.
The victim's husband said his wife had spoken of the offending in the mid-2000s and identified the perpetrator as "the nasty one from Prisoner".
Kirkpatrick is best known for playing lesbian prison officer Joan Ferguson, nicknamed "The Freak", on the popular 1980s soapie Prisoner.
The Albury-born actor has also appeared in other Australian TV shows, including Hey Dad!, Blue Heelers and Home and Away, All Saints and Water Rats. More recently, she scored a role as Madame Morrible in the Australian production of the musical Wicked.
Defence counsel Justin Hannebery said Kirkpatrick, who lives in Sydney, had been acting for 54 years and had just finished a seven-year run of Wicked.
Mr Hannebery said the offending related to a "single incident of limited standing" and did not involve penetration or threats of physical violence.
He called on Mr Mealy to spare Kirkpatrick a jail term and instead impose a community corrections order.
Kirkpatrick had pleaded not guilty to the three charges and denied the allegations in an interview with police last year.
The grandmother of two did not react when the magistrate found her guilty. She left court without comment.
Her lawyer also declined to comment when asked about the prospects of an appeal.
Kirkpatrick is due to return to court on Friday for sentencing.
Herald Sun July 28th 2015