Monday, May 3, 2010

"No f.. appearance, your honour."

You'll have to read to the end. True story apparently, though I thought the correct form of address for a magistrate was Your Worship?

On the face of it, it seems a reasonable decision doesn't it? I mean, he didn't call the copper a c*nt, and that almost passes for restraint these days.

But there's the rub isn't it. What passes for restraint and civilised behaviour these days.

And that's the problem with these decisions from magistrates and judges. Each time they cede more ground to the barbarians who are taking over our public life and spaces.

Whatever their failings, it is the police who we look to to protect us from those who increasingly make our lives miserable with their self-obsessed anti-social behaviour. However, this relies upon them having a certain standing within the community that itself needs to be protected. Our legal system seems intent on doing the exact opposite.

Is it any wonder that criminals and thugs now show their contempt for the police and the law so openly and so brazenly? That they don't respect us or our property is a given of course, but now they no longer respect or fear the police and we are all paying the price for this.

Is it also fine to call his Honour a prick?

Andrew Bolt

After all, I’m sure his Honour cannot possibly be offended:
(A) local court magistrate in Sydney ruled yesterday that the word “prick” was part of the every-day vernacular as he cleared a university student of an offensive language charge.

Waverley Local Court magistrate Robbie Williams made his comments during a hearing for science student Henry Grech, 22, who was charged following a heated argument with Senior Constable Adam Royds at Bondi Junction train station last year.

Oops. Or should I have shown the magistrate more respect than he’d demand for the police?

That said, I’m afraid he’s only confirming an unfortunate precedent set by others of his trade:
The importance of context was again emphasised in Saunders v Herold (1991) 105 FLR 1. The accused, an Aborginal man, and his friends were asked to leave the Canberra Workers Club, which they did. Outside, the accused was approached by police, and was alleged to have said “Why don’t you c...s just f… off and leave us alone?” His conviction for offensive conduct was quashed by Higgins J (at 5)...
(Magistrate Pat) O’Shane today came under criticism from NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney and the police union for her decision last Wednesday to dismiss a charge of swearing by (Rufus) Richardson at officers in a parked police car outside The Rocks police station…

In bringing down her decision Ms O’Shane said there were no longer “community standards” in relation to such behaviour…

Police had alleged in the Downing Centre Local Court that Mr Richardson had said: “Youse are f---ed.” She said that type of language was “to be expected on George Street at that time of night"…

In 1991, she dismissed charges against a Lismore man who called two officers “f---ing poofters”, saying the term was not as offensive as the military term “collateral damage”.
(Thanks to reader CA.)
Reader ex VicPol:
True Story. I was prosecuting when it happened.

Defendant was charged similarly with using the F word to describe someone. Magistrate ruled that it was acceptable,and normal part of language case dismissed.

Next case, the bailiff was asked to summons next defendant. He failed to appear. Magistrate asked where he was. Bailif responded, “No f.. appearance, your honour.”

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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