A Queensland magistrate has been blamed for the current crimes of a violent offender because five years ago she allegedly handed down a soft sentence to that offender.
Justice Robert Beech-Jones, the President of the Judicial Conference of Australia, the judges’ and magistrates’ professional association, has condemned this attack in the Courier-Mail of November 15 as unfair and nonsensical.
“Commentary on the severity or leniency of a sentencing decision in 2012 is legitimate” he said. But the JCA condemns as ridiculous the identification of crimes committed many years subsequently as the magistrate’s fault.
Justice Beech-Jones observed that the avenue for appeal from the decision made in 2012 always existed but was not taken up by the prosecuting authorities.
The JCA President called on the media, and in particular the Courier-Mail, to be responsible in its reporting of court decisions and, in particular, to avoid making personal attacks on an individual magistrate who is not permitted to respond in her own defence.