Ashley Paul Griffith: Identity of man accused of being Australia’s most prolific paedophile revealed

 (Supplied)
(Supplied)

A man accused of being Australia’s most prolific paedophile has been named after a change in the country’s sex offender laws.

Ashley Paul Griffith, 45, a former childcare worker from the Gold Coast, has been accused of abusing 91 girls over a 15-year period.

He is facing 1,623 charges after being arrested in 2022, which include 136 counts of rape and 110 counts of having sex with a child under 10.

Griffith, who is due in court in November and is yet to enter a plea, had previously been able to remain anonymous over the alleged offences across 10 daycare centres in Australia and Italy between 2007 and 2022.

New laws passed in Queensland mean journalists are allowed to name alleged sexual assault offenders before trials begin.

The laws were a recommendation of the women’s safety and justice taskforce in July 2022 and bring the state into line with most other states and territories.

The changes mean that accused sex offenders will be treated the same as defendants accused of other crimes.

Reflecting on the laws when they passed parliament, the Queensland attorney general, Yvette D’Ath, said “rape myths have no place in our society”.

“Rape and sexual assault are some of the most underreported criminal offences in Australia and we want to support victims to come forward and hold perpetrators to account,” she said.

The opposition supported the government’s bill, and shadow attorney general, Tim Nicholls, said there did not seem to have been any “significant negative consequences” in jurisdictions where the accused can be named at an earlier stage.

“Indeed, when we think of other serious offences such as murder and manslaughter where the accused is named almost immediately, along with similar serious offences, the logic of retaining the restriction seems even less tenable,” he said.

Under the legislation, accused offenders can apply to the court for a non-publication order to maintain their anonymity.