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July 10th 2017 print

Ian Munro-Meeks

Contempt of Court? Well That Depends…

Three federal ministers recently were given the rounds of kitchen by Victorian judges, who declined to lock them up for alleged contempt. No doubt, through  gritted teeth, the politicos resented their humiliation, but they should have rejoiced. Little people are granted no such indulgence

judge IIIContempt charges are almost always an exercise in judicial muscle. You are a gnat, a court will say, who has attacked the very foundations of the legal system that protects us all. And should you happen to be charged you’ll almost certainly be paraded, humiliated and spat out by judges claiming to act more in sorrow than anger. The problem is that some punished for contempt are lower-hanging fruit than others.

Legal precincts have always had their crews of cranks and angries, pushing traffic fines to extreme appeals, spending hours reading up obscure Privy Council judgments, busting to beat the system. Noble enough in the exercise of accessing a citizen’s right to seek justice, and courts indulge them to a point. But eventually the more bothered of them get charged with contempt for what are usually nothing more than cumulative  and forlorn outbursts against what they regard as The System.

A soon-to-retire judge recently described one such litigant as “a pain in the arse”. A magistrate locked up another for interrupting him. A bubblegum-blower was led out the secure door for his act of misplaced defiance. These were little people of no consequence and few resources, and their fates stand in stark contrast to that of the three federal ministers who Victoria’s most senior judges said committed “prima facie” contempt for their observations that, in their personal opinion, judges were being soft on terror. A media squall that would otherwise have passed mostly unnoticed, the Victorian Supreme Court in this instance went full beserker on the ministers, also slapping The Australian for publishing their views.

Is there a lesson in this? Yes, but not perhaps the most obvious one. What those of us who haunt the courts understand is that self-represented litigants who lose their cool wind  up in the clink, yet a trio of legally trained but half-baked ministers, represented by a phalanx of taxpayer-funded lawyers, get to skate after first frustrating the court with qualified regrets, which the beaks found insufficient, before finally making a finger-in-the-wind apology.

It goes further than that.

Forget you’ve perched your glasses on your head while seated in the body of the court and a clerk or tipstave will be dispatched by the bench to order that they put in in your pocket or on your nose. This is exactly what happened several years ago to a Herald Sun reporter, who was advised that he could be locked up if he did not do as ordered. The reporter, short-sighted, needed the spectacles off to see what he was writing in his notebook, and he needed them down to observe the judge and lawyers. The irony? He was covering the trial of Islamic radicals charged with conspiring to perpetrate terror. The weird beards refused to stand for the judge and went unpunished for their open and intended contempt. The inoffensive reporter wasn’t so blessed.

Cranks get cranky about the way the courts dole out contempt citations. Annoying as those obsessives may be, they are right to believe the law needs to be seen as equally applied.

Ian Munro-Meeks spends his working days in the belly of the court system.

Comments [34]

  1. Jody says:

    They see themselves as above the Australian people and their community expectations; tin gods who know far more about what’s good for us than we do. The slippery slope to authoritarianism, masked as protecting the ‘separation of powers’. I’m not wearing that for a second. Every other profession, except possibly academe, has been brought to account over the years; even doctors, those tin gods to whom we once unquestioningly deferred, have to get it right and explain their decisions. No such account is required of the legal profession and that must change. Now to find a politician who isn’t one of their ranks, or an acolyte or one patronized, who’s game to make the call. We all eagerly await.

  2. Keith Kennelly says:

    The independence of the Judiciary is fundamental to the operation of democracy and the western traditions.

    So the judges have odd little ways in dealing with recalcitrants… so what? It’s no biggie, to most of us, as it is, to most of us, fundamental to have an authoritive body to administer our law.

    … rather than lawyers, acadenics, politicians, public servants, and mere managers do you hat for us.

    Typically only the Managerial Elites would attempt an on the independence on the one institution they can’t control.

    The politicians lost as they should have done.

    That was a serious blow to the elites. Good on the Judiciary they stuck up for us. Forget about he issue understand the principle. To try to argue the petty points of the sentencing or the subjects of the application is stupid, unthinking and obsfacation.

    Gee so why wouldn’t the resident champion of the Managerial Class adopt the their line.

    • acarroll says:

      It used to be that the three independent branches of government kept each other honest as they all jockeyed amongst each other for power and in so doing provided the stability for creating just and wealthy societies.

      The role the monarchy used to play was to leave an inheritance to their next in line, i.e. leave the estate in as good or better condition than the one they inherited.

      In Australia, the UK and most European monarchies, royalty are now essentially ceremonial, leaving the elected politicians to jockey with the judiciary for power in that zero-sum game.

      What we’re finding now all over the Western world however is politicians wilfully ceding power to the judiciary, an unelected, tenure for life “priestly class”. (Why they’re doing this is up for debate though I would wager, “follow the money” and you’ll find out.) The judiciary — fully indoctrinated in the liberal/socialist world view — are showing more and more disdain for the welfare of the society which supports them and which they’re supposed to be serving. This is particularly evident in the USA where the supreme court is suggesting policy indirectly, returning laws to the house and senate, which are then being accepted without much contest. What’s more, they’re also unilaterally interpreting law in such a way as block elected leaders from doing things that are entirely within their remit. Case in point the presidential decree to restrict Islamic immigration. We can see it every day though in the light punishments for violent crimes when the perpetrator is from an “oppressed class”, versus property crimes or any *illegal speech* or action against the agenda of the elites or their chosen tools.

      What’s even more stunning is that beyond this the judiciary are increasingly raising the priority of international and treaty law — laws agreed by the majority government of the day — over contradictory legislation made by the elected representatives of the citizenry.

      This is moving us closer to global government and further from sovereignty.

    • Charles.dcc says:

      What happened to the politicians’ right to express an opinion?
      That’s freedom of speech 101.

  3. Warty says:

    That the overwhelming majority, who followed the whole contempt issue, might have wished their flaming honours’ wigs might spontaneously combust on their neo Marxist heads, was not to be. Instead they went ballistic with regards to the unfortunate ministers.
    I know we have separation of powers and all that, but, after all these ‘half baked’ ministers do represent we plebs, and presumably are above being told not to chew gum in class. So I was delighted when they decided to muse on the left leaning backgrounds of the aforementioned Judge Jefferies and acknowledge they didn’t have the interest of right leaning xenophobes like me at heart. That The Australian should double charge its musket more than agreed with me and be damned about all this separation of powers bit, as my blood was up and no less than the guillotine would do.
    Unfortunately, the three ministers lost their lines in their scurry to escape loosing their seats and it was left to me to utter those unforgettable lines as I entered the tumbril on their behalf: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

  4. bts says:

    May I point out that amyone who is considering pouring even further fuel onto the Jody/Warty bonfire might benefit from attending fairly to the contents of a statement published on 16 June last by the Victorian Court of Appeal.? May I, for ease of reference, impose upon the editor for the space to quote the following portion of that statement?

    “During the course of oral submissions and argument by counsel for the parties, members of the bench in the ordinary course asked questions, made comment and engaged in discussion with counsel. The appeals were conducted in the standard way that thousands of appeals have been conducted in this appellate court and other appellate courts across Australia and around the common law world for hundreds of years.

    At the end of submissions the court reserved its judgment in each of the cases.

    On 13 June 2017 the Australian published an article, Judiciary “Light on terrorism” directly relating to the Commonwealth Director v Besim.

    The article attributed statements to the Honourable Greg Hunt MP, the Minister for Health, the Honourable Michael Sukkar MP, the Assistant Treasurer and the Honourable Alan Tudge MP, the Minister for Human Services.

    The attributed statements were published whilst the judgments of the Court of Appeal were reserved.

    Given that the court’s decisions in both cases were pending, the court is concerned that the attributed statements were impermissible at law and improperly made in an attempt to influence the court in its decision or decisions. Further, the court is concerned that some of the statements purported to scandalise the court. That is by being calculated to improperly undermine public confidence in the administration of justice in this state in respect of the disposition of the appeals that the court has presently under consideration.

    The court was further concerned that the attributed statements were made by three ministers of the Crown. The statements on their face:

    Fail to respect the doctrine of separation of powers;
    Breach the principle of sub judice; and
    Reflect a lack of proper understanding of the importance to our democracy of the independence of the judiciary from the political arms of government.
    Arising from the court’s concerns letters were sent by the Judicial Registrar of the Court of Appeal to the Honourable the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth of Australia with respect to the three ministers and the publisher and editor of the Australian and to the journalist with respect to the article.

    The letter informed those parties of the court’s concerns and gave notice that the court required the individuals or their legal representatives’ appearance before this court today to make any submissions as to why they should not be referred for prosecution for contempt.

    Copies of the letters were provided to the parties in both the Besim and MHK matters.

    We note the parties are present in court. In a moment appearances will be taken.

    We note that there is no inter partes status of the ministers and what we will call the newspaper interest. Their attendance is informal and at the request of the court.

    Before taking appearances the publication in question makes it necessary, in the circumstances, to say the following in the strongest terms.

    The parties in both cases, on both sides, namely the Director, Besim and MHK should comprehend that this court has not been and will not be affected by the statements at all, made in the Australian article or elsewhere in the media.

    Those parties should be assured and confident that nothing that has been said in the article or about the article can have an effect on the decision or decisions the court will make. We particularly emphasize to the public that it should be assured and have the utmost confidence that the court will decide these matters independently, impartially and in accordance with the rule of law.

    Notwithstanding that the article and associated commentary will not impact on our decision making process or any decision itself, the public should understand that that is not the end of the matter. There are important principles of law that arise when anyone speaks about a court’s decision or its conduct during a hearing, before the decision is delivered.

    We would add, in the strongest terms, the legal notions of contempt of court do not exist to protect judges or their personal reputations. These laws exist to protect the independence of the judiciary in making decisions that bind governments and citizens alike. These laws further exist to protect public confidence in the judiciary.

    This morning is not an occasion to debate whether the court’s concerns are justified at law. That is, it is not to debate whether contempt has been committed. That may be for another court to determine. Rather, it is an opportunity for those involved to inform the court of any relevant matters they wish before we determine whether to refer the publication for prosecution for contempt of court.”

    It seems to me that what is there explained by the Court is clear, sensible and balanced. I cannot fathom why any thinking citizen, having even an elementary knowledge of the relevant constitutional history, could do other than applaud both the actions taken by the Court and the clear and convincing explanation made by the Court in its published statement.

    So far as the three Ministers are concerned, I perceive their conduct as having been Constitutionally illiterate, politically reckless amd publicly irresponsible. Has the authentic Liberal Party of Sir Robert Menzies really imploded to the point where the basic principles of the Australian Constitution are either not grasped or are seen as just another pillar of well-ordered and civil society

  5. bts says:

    May I point out that amyone who is considering pouring even further fuel onto the Jody/Warty bonfire might benefit from attending fairly to the contents of a statement published on 16 June last by the Victorian Court of Appeal.? May I, for ease of reference, impose upon the editor for the space to quote the following portion of that statement?

    “During the course of oral submissions and argument by counsel for the parties, members of the bench in the ordinary course asked questions, made comment and engaged in discussion with counsel. The appeals were conducted in the standard way that thousands of appeals have been conducted in this appellate court and other appellate courts across Australia and around the common law world for hundreds of years.

    At the end of submissions the court reserved its judgment in each of the cases.

    On 13 June 2017 the Australian published an article, Judiciary “Light on terrorism” directly relating to the Commonwealth Director v Besim.

    The article attributed statements to the Honourable Greg Hunt MP, the Minister for Health, the Honourable Michael Sukkar MP, the Assistant Treasurer and the Honourable Alan Tudge MP, the Minister for Human Services.

    The attributed statements were published whilst the judgments of the Court of Appeal were reserved.

    Given that the court’s decisions in both cases were pending, the court is concerned that the attributed statements were impermissible at law and improperly made in an attempt to influence the court in its decision or decisions. Further, the court is concerned that some of the statements purported to scandalise the court. That is by being calculated to improperly undermine public confidence in the administration of justice in this state in respect of the disposition of the appeals that the court has presently under consideration.

    The court was further concerned that the attributed statements were made by three ministers of the Crown. The statements on their face:

    Fail to respect the doctrine of separation of powers;
    Breach the principle of sub judice; and
    Reflect a lack of proper understanding of the importance to our democracy of the independence of the judiciary from the political arms of government.

    Arising from the court’s concerns letters were sent by the Judicial Registrar of the Court of Appeal to the Honourable the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth of Australia with respect to the three ministers and the publisher and editor of the Australian and to the journalist with respect to the article.

    The letter informed those parties of the court’s concerns and gave notice that the court required the individuals or their legal representatives’ appearance before this court today to make any submissions as to why they should not be referred for prosecution for contempt.

    Copies of the letters were provided to the parties in both the Besim and MHK matters.

    We note the parties are present in court. In a moment appearances will be taken.

    We note that there is no inter partes status of the ministers and what we will call the newspaper interest. Their attendance is informal and at the request of the court.

    Before taking appearances the publication in question makes it necessary, in the circumstances, to say the following in the strongest terms.

    The parties in both cases, on both sides, namely the Director, Besim and MHK should comprehend that this court has not been and will not be affected by the statements at all, made in the Australian article or elsewhere in the media.

    Those parties should be assured and confident that nothing that has been said in the article or about the article can have an effect on the decision or decisions the court will make. We particularly emphasize to the public that it should be assured and have the utmost confidence that the court will decide these matters independently, impartially and in accordance with the rule of law.

    Notwithstanding that the article and associated commentary will not impact on our decision making process or any decision itself, the public should understand that that is not the end of the matter. There are important principles of law that arise when anyone speaks about a court’s decision or its conduct during a hearing, before the decision is delivered.

    We would add, in the strongest terms, the legal notions of contempt of court do not exist to protect judges or their personal reputations. These laws exist to protect the independence of the judiciary in making decisions that bind governments and citizens alike. These laws further exist to protect public confidence in the judiciary.

    This morning is not an occasion to debate whether the court’s concerns are justified at law. That is, it is not to debate whether contempt has been committed. That may be for another court to determine. Rather, it is an opportunity for those involved to inform the court of any relevant matters they wish before we determine whether to refer the publication for prosecution for contempt of court.”

    It seems to me that what is there explained by the Court is clear, sensible and balanced. I cannot fathom why any thinking citizen, having even an elementary knowledge of the relevant constitutional history, could do other than applaud both the actions taken by the Court and the clear and convincing explanation made by the Court in its published statement.

    So far as the three Ministers are concerned, I perceive their conduct as having been Constitutionally illiterate, politically reckless amd publicly irresponsible. Has the authentic Liberal Party of Sir Robert Menzies really imploded to the point where the basic principles of the Australian Constitution are either not grasped by Ministers presenting themselves as Liberal, or are seen as just another pillar of well-ordered and civil society to be trashed for the shallow applause of those who cannot distinguish between change and improvement? It does seem, sadly, that the answer is: yes.

    So far as relevant journalism is concerned, one need not travel beyond the bold-faced opening paragraph of Mr Munro-Meeks’s article. A bit of good, rollicking pseudo-egalitarianism dressed up in a rather snippy, one might say almost supercilious, style. Allowing for the natural idiosyncrasies of any Quadrant Online type of open forum, there must be, surely, a way of better treating with simple objectivity and gravity a subject that is, on any fair measure of objectivity, of the gravest.

    So far as concerns the would-be destroyers of the constitutional principle of the division of powers, I, at any rate, would be interested to know, not what they are against, but what they are for.

    • Peter Sandery says:

      At the end of the day, bts, if the people whom you and your colleagues are supposed to safeguard as far as the law goes, and the three ministers and their colleagues are supposed to represent as their proxies in the corridors of power goes, it behoves all of you to ensure that you have a basic understanding of the people who your are supposed to safeguard or represent. When sentencing becomes so farcical as to be way out of sync with the community’s expectations, you cannot expect to remain safe for very much longer in your ivory towers, the Doctrine of the Separation of Powers or the Rule of Law or any other adage you may wish to use to justify you being so completely at odds with the common weal, notwithstanding.

    • Warty says:

      Bts, your honour, we the accused are dumbfounded by the archaic use of language, used to further obfuscate what is to us quite simple: the aforesaid judges live in a legalistic bubble; have assumed power to the limit accorded to them; have used power against the very real concerns of a public unversed in the intricacies of legalism, which has long since left the realms of common understanding.
      The concerns of the public are as such: the Victorian judiciary, closely followed by those in other states have greater concern for the perpetrators of crime rather than the victims, particularly if the esteemed perpetrators are of either Muslim or South Sudanese origin. The public are concerned that public safety is no longer within anyone’s realm to rectify, on account of the fact that the aforesaid perpetrators are released with a mere rap on their esteemed knuckles and then apologised to for having received such a rap. The bewildered public are of the opinion that the Victorian judiciary, in particular, are only interested in judicially inspired anarchy, and would like to know whether or not they need to flee to safer realms.

  6. bts says:

    I neg everyone’s pardon for the unintended repetition. Please ignore the first, and incomplete, posting. The later version is complete. Perhaps the editor would delete the first of the two postings

  7. Jody says:

    @bts: Most of us had already read about this and yet we were still sympathetic with the clumsy, ill-timed comments by the three politicians. Interesting, even curious, how the final decision brought down in the appeal was a less lenient one!! This seldom happens.

    I think this “separation of powers” is a rather convenient obfuscation and an effective shield that the law and its practitioners are far too precious about for all our interests. But I also blame the army of NGOs like the execrable “Administrative Appeals Tribunal” which effectively nullifies government decisions on behalf of the people. This sets up grievance, er, principles for the judiciary to interpret into their readings of the law. And the culture of victimhood is surely providing a sympathetic haven for more leniency, more ‘rehabilitation’ and other convenient excuses. How many times have we head a judge comment in sentencing about “rehabilitation”. I’m no lawyer, but I feel that judicial discretion in sentencing is where this is all breaking down. Only a marxist with a wafer-thin understanding of human behaviour could mark the papers of a convicted murderer and sex offender with “rehabilitation likely”. It’s a bargain the community constantly makes and loses. No amount of legalese and posturing within the legal fraternity can disguise the fact that the system is failing and we have a body count to prove it.

    • Warty says:

      My being in fear of adding further fuel to the fire, I venture a timid ‘hear! hear!’.

    • Keith Kennelly says:

      Jody

      Comprehension again.

      You don’t seem to understand the Judicary is not above criticism.

      That was quite clear in bts post.

      What you don’t seem to comprehend is that it is not contempt to criticise the Judicary or its actions after judgements are given.

      It is contempt to criticise the Judiciary and its actions while the Judiciary is considering matters and before the Judiciary delivers its judgements.

      Clear?

      Tell me Jody, are you one of Turnbulls non conservative liberal/socialists?

      • Warty says:

        Jody doesn’t need anyone to defend her, Keith, but her second sentence acknowledges the point you are quite rightly making ‘yet we were still sympathetic with the clumsy, ill-timed comments by the three politicians’. The ‘ill-timed’ part shows that she knew it was sub judice, as do we all. The three judges though made their own point by means of de ‘sledge hammer’.
        Unacceptable though it may be, my main regret was that they didn’t call the judges bluff: now that I would have enjoyed.

  8. Geoffrey Luck says:

    Because they sometimes make the law, judges too frequently see themselves as above it.

  9. Keith Kennelly says:

    Judges have always made law … what is precedent?

    What we see today is judges interpreting parliament legislation often in ways unintended by the parliament.

    Parliament then has the ability to re-write legislation to negate the effects of the Judiciary ruling.

    Happens all the time.

    • Warty says:

      Statue law is not made by judges, though they often define such law, supposedly in the spirit of the legislators, though this is increasingly not the case (ie the defining in the spirit bit).

  10. Keith Kennelly says:

    It is the legal dogooders who attempt to alter legislation. They are the pests and the curses here.

  11. Keith Kennelly says:

    I believe the timing was not accidental or ill timed. They knew what they were doing.
    I believe these blokes were attempting to use the Judiciary to score banal political points against the Victorian Government. Making those statements after the Bench had ruled would not have been even reported on in the media.
    A pretty amateur little machination and I thought they deserved to go to Jail. Especially that little snivelling Hunt.

  12. Keith Kennelly says:

    Such is the nature of the non conservative liberal/social party and government of Turnbull.

    • Warty says:

      I heartily agree with your comments about the Liberal government, but I’d applaud anyone scoring political points against the socialist Andrews government. That is one issue, The second issue is an extraordinarily left leaning judiciary, that is intent on serving the interests of the perpetrators of crime rather than the victims. I, Jody and most other well informed people understand the consequences commenting on a sub judice judiciary. As things turned out, yes the ministers capitulated, but the revised sentences were more stringent: this surely could not have been an accident. Indeed we will never know.
      We have to go back to 1688 to understand the need for a separation of powers, and that need was for some sort of equitable balance. But it seems to me, indeed the public as a whole, that an imbalance has been established and perpetuated. I would have liked to see the politicians fall on their collective swords and go to prison, but not for the reasons you put forward.

  13. Keith Kennelly says:

    ‘The revised sentences were more stringent ‘

    With that statement you disregard the statement from the bench that the statements of the snivelling apologists would not impact on the Judges decisions.

    That is indeed a lowering of the regard in which the Judiciary should be held, and a direct result of the contempt.

    The three conspirators should have been jailed.

    The balance is there. Judges decisions can be debated after their decisions, not during the process.

    How many cases dothe judiciart actually rule on that have effect on political statute?
    To few to really make it an issue.

    Fundamental to our society is the attribute of forgiveness. Our judiciary reflects that.

    It is ok to err towards leniency rather than harshness. Even if at times the decisions seem too lenient I’d hold mostly by a huge margin the outcomes are fair and reflect our values.

    A reformer criminal is always far better outcome… for us all.

    • Warty says:

      Keith, I don’t think you quite get it, with all due respect: I’m trying to convey the fact I have little regard for the Victorian judges concerned. They obtained their required apologies from the politicians (which was most unfortunate, seeing that they knew what they were doing and should have been prepared to call the judges’ bluff). My contention is that far to many in the Australian judiciary have been indoctrinated in the civil rights philosophies that so infect the American courts. I would have celebrated a constitutional crisis precipitated by the gaoling of the politicians concerned.
      With regards to the Victorian Appellate Judges, there was nothing to defend there: they are politically compromised.

  14. Keith Kennelly says:

    Oh I do get it Warty, it’s just their is a chasm between our separate opinions.
    Like the judges I’m much more forgiving and i understand the judges have all the information in front of them when doing their job and I don’t.

    • Warty says:

      Indeed the judges may have all the information before them, but if you are ideologically primed then you’ll filter the information: this is the problem, and this is why the public at large no longer have faith in the judiciary.
      Jody’s example below illustrates the sense of inequity rather well. As she says: ‘ nothing would happen of consequence to this man because he is a protected minority’. The tradition had been that everyone was equal before the law (and that includes victim, requiring justice, and the perpetrator, requiring ‘correction’). As identity politics appears to influence decisions, such as the limp wristed sentences handed down to South Sudanese gang members, one cannot blame politicians like Hunt criticising the judges on the appellate court, despite a case being sub judice. I suspect the three Liberal politicians did indeed know more about the details of the case than we might.

  15. Jody says:

    Another fine decision from the courts; the man who drove the wrong way down the off-ramp on Sydney Harbour Bridge a few months ago has received a $700 fine and 100 hours community service. This is the same man who, only months before, nearly killed one of my friends and her 2 passengers on the South Coast. He slewed across the road in his truck and into the path of my friend’s car putting all 3 of them in the hospital (2 were from UK) and nearly killing them. This man had already had his licence suspended from previous offenses. So, let’s chalk it up; suspensed licence, nearly killed my friend and her 2 UK passengers, drove wrong way down Harbour Bridge and caused total chaos in Sydney during peak hour. For this he gets a fine and community service. My injured friend is staggered, but I did warn her after the south coast crash nothing would happen of consequence to this man because he is a protected minority. Now, this road felon is up to 4 or more serious offenses and he’s in the revolving door of the so-called justice system. There WILL be a body count with this and I’ll report back to you all here when that inevitably occurs.

  16. Keith Kennelly says:

    Warty

    I’d dispute the public at large no longer has faith in the Judiciary.

    Have you asked them?

    Occasionally there is a hue and cry over what appears to be justice served ‘lightly’ where miscreants appear to be lightly treated. Even very occasionally there are crown appeals for more severe sentencing. But the courts hear hundreds of matters each week and yet we might only occasionally hear of some light treatments.

    It is not every day of every week.

    Do you know what proportion of cases where this occurs.? I’d think it would be a very minor occurance.

    I’ve appeared before the courts, in a number of capacities. I’ve never found any behaviour of any judge unfair or in wise, although at times I haven’t agreed with their decisions.

    In a case where I’d severely bashed a detective and was charged under the Crimes Act, in NZ as a 19 year old , I was treated with great leniency and understanding. There were powerful mitigating circumstances and all charges were dismissed. The policeman eventually recovered and I have never lifted my fist to any soul since. The police never forgot and that was part of the reason I migrated.

    I was among the first men to receive sole custody of my children in Australia. It took six years and at the time the courts angered me often. In retrospect the judges decisions were the best for my family and I and once the children were returned I came to understand that.

    I’ve had dealings in magistrates courts, various industrial courts and the Antidiscrimination Commission of Queensland on my own behalf or received leave to appear on behalf of others.

    My experiences have been great and from them I’d say the Judiciary are made of steel and hardly likely to be influenced by the baying of politicians, reporters and other And they’d be aware of their own prejudices.
    And I agree some would not reach that level of impartiality, but they’d be a very small minority. We see them reported on in the media occasionally. One or two … not dozens or all.

    Warty thee Judiciary would likely listen to your opinions and dismiss them with powerful arguments. And they’d have many substantial ones. They also would have many many more anecdotes and more powerful ones that Jody’s or mine.

    Cheers

    • Warty says:

      Well, if anything, the interchange produced a spirited response from you and invoked some intriguing personal history into the bargain. So, worthwhile I suspect.

  17. [email protected] says:

    Sir Robert Menzies called Fitzpatrick and Browne to the bar of the House and jailed them for several months for contempt of the parliament about 1955.
    It seems to me that these precious Judges were in contempt of parliament. They should have been jailed.
    Every time I have lost in the High Court the Doctrine has been – Parliament is Paramount.

  18. Keith Kennelly says:

    I didn’t know that Dr Lynch. Thank you.

    Warty,

    to disagree and debate without rancor distinguished all participants.

    Cheers to you both.