Queensland Law Society

QLS defends integrity of magistrates court

Date 15 Nov 2017
Contact QLS External Affairs Division
Phone 07 3842 5835
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email media@qls.com.au

QLS President Christine Smyth has defended the integrity of the state’s magistrates after recent media attacks.

“The law society is aware of the article headed "One blast chance" published on page 1 and 4 of the Courier Mail 15 November 2017.” President Smyth said.

She noted that it was understandable for people to be concerned when the safety of their loved ones was threatened by criminals, but decisions of magistrates must be based on facts and law, not fear or favour.

“Magistrate White had the advantage of reviewing all the evidence and observing any witnesses. The only other people who had that same opportunity-the prosecutors-saw nothing in the decision worthy of appeal.” She said.

“In addition, The Migration Act sets out a raft of offences which enliven the power of deportation for the minister. It is a matter for the Department of Immigration to make that assessment and then it was open to them take the matter directly to the minister responsible.

The President said that criticism levelled against Magistrate White as a so called "soft touch" was unfounded and unsupportable.

“Courts can only independently act upon evidence presented to them and craft sentences which reflect the seriousness of the offence, the need to protect the community and the personal circumstances of the defendant before the court.

Courts cannot act on the possibility that someone might commit further offences in a distant future. Queensland Judicial officers look into law books, not crystal balls for their decisions.”

She said that criticism of our judicial officers on their inability to predict the future was strikingly unfair and serves to diminish the respect the public should have for the courts.

“As a society we must be very careful to understand, properly respect and uphold the rule of law that stands to protect us as individuals and the community as a whole.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact the external affairs team via media@qls.com.au.