I spied on the front page of the Crimes today an article about ‘Rough’ Justice meted out in the ACT Magistrates Court and how the local crooks have caught on to this and are making the switch to the Supreme Court where it is well known to be the haven of a slap on the wrist with a limp lettuce leaf.
Victor Violante did his research and came up with a number of quotes from Defence council and a Magistrate (neither named)
Several lawyers have already said they would take contested hearings to the Supreme Court every time.
“A strong perception exists among offenders and defence lawyers that most custodial sentences will be discounted on appeal.
Legal practitioners, magistrates and prosecutors believe the Supreme Court metes out more favourable treatment.
One criminal barrister said, ”You always get a discount on appeal, just for having gone to the trouble [of lodging one].”
One magistrate said, evidently with his tongue only slightly in his cheek, ”It’s almost professional misconduct for defence counsel not to appeal against a custodial sentence given by a magistrate.”
The article also mentions new legislation to stop crooks going shopping for the best Magistrate to hear their case.
My thoughts are we need to get rid of this trial by Judge alone crap and put it before the people. Let them have a say in the sentencing as well.