View Full Version : Strong words from the magistrate

1st May 2003, 13:52
A magistrate in South Australia has launched a stunning personal attack on a prostitute and drug addict in his courtroom.

"You're a druggie and you'll die in the gutter . . . I don't believe in that social worker crap . . . you can go to work. Seven million of us do it whilst 14 million like you sit at home watching Days of Our Lives, smoking your crack pipe and using needles, and I'm sick of you sucking us dry.........." , opined the magistrate in what were, believe it or not, some of the less inflammatory words used.

The story can be found here (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,6363861%255E2702,00.html) .

The defendant also happens to be Aboriginal, which throws the ensuing argument into particularly muddy waters. Certainly there are two strands that need to be addressed separately. Whether or not he overstepped the mark and should be disciplined will provide the usual strong and predictable opinions from both sides, examples of which can be found in the online feedback below the article.

More problematically, if the defendant had been white, would there have been as big an outcry? If not, is PC in this case holding us back from considering the uncomfortable possibility that the magistrate may have been right? As one respondent asked, ignoring the colourful language, what did he say that was false?

I would welcome thoughtful opinions on this one.

1st May 2003, 17:28
As you say the right or wrongs of the abusive tirade will get the usual partisan treatment. I don't personally see any reason to assume that the ethnic origin of the defendant influenced the magistrate. Automatically assuming that anyone in conflict with a minority is 'probably tainted by racism' is in itself prejudice and leads only to more discrimination.

A common theme over here.

1st May 2003, 17:36
Would there be grounds for thinking that he was prejudiced against the defendant, and therefore shouldn't have heard this case.

What say you Flying Lawyer and Unwell_raptor?

tony draper
1st May 2003, 17:37
We had a item on TV here yesterday in a similar vein, a senior police officer was being given a hard time about the number of times Black men were stopped by police in certain areas of London, as usual they pussy footed and danced around the one obvious reason.
Up in my neck of the woods if you are mugged or subjected to street vioence its a 99.9% certainty it will be by a young white male, there are areas of London where it is a 99.9% certainty it will be by a young black male, of course they were all terrified to say this.

1st May 2003, 21:06
Australia is indeed a strange and foreign land.

This fellow would be called a District Judge in England as he is a trained lawyer, but be he a layman or a professional I am pretty sure he would be out on his ear as soon as his remarks were reported.

Thanks for the link Binos. It's gone to a few legally involved people of my acquaintance!

1st May 2003, 21:48
Strange and foreign indeed. ;)
From the feedback section:
Not enough people have the intestinal fortitude to bring these people into line.

1st May 2003, 22:05
Well all I can say is "well done, Michael Esmond Frederick", the magistrate. If those in a judicial position would take a similar stand perhaps those offenders might think more about putting their lives in order. Quote, "Were [the defendant] was visibly shaken by the sentencing magistrate's comments."

Perhaps the profanity has no place in the "learned halls of justice" but the sentiment really does. I cannot tell if the fact Were is Aboriginal had a bearing, what was telling was the fact that the magistrate was concerned about what effect the guilty party's behaviour was having on her mother.

As for the charges of breaching bail and prostitution attracting a maximum of $750 fine, WTF is going on over there? Were should be thankful she was given a suspended sentence and not thrown in the slammer for a few months. However, no drugs offences were mentioned in the article, was that previous that she had?

Oh, and the magistrate should have made her read this page (http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/finalmeals.htm) for aversion therapy


1st May 2003, 22:54
No, I suspect he took a drop too many at lunch and took the opportunity to tee off on somebody weak so as to boast to his lawyer chums and get his clearly titanic ego in the press. When I worked in the CPS I knew a lawyer of similar style, enjoyed getting drunk at lunchtime, bullying typists, ranting about Pakis and ringing me up at my desk to ask me to make phone calls - because he could, clearly.

No good sending her to jail, drugs still available there

Oh deary, deary me. I don't want to think about Elsie S. Ivarrson's solution, but I suspect it would be swift and violent. These nazis really are piling up today...

1st May 2003, 22:56
Is it the fact she is a woman or an Aborigine (Aboriginal?) that you consider to be weak? :hmm:

1st May 2003, 23:15
So, then, SteamChook, the fact that the judge may have got it right won't get in the way for you then?

Why is telling it like it is considered so wrong?

The only egos that would have a problem here are the accused, yes? Certainly not this judge who has expressed the opinion of the vast majority here in Australia, sick and tired of funding no hopers from their tax dollars.

Please don't preach from some lofty tower if you don't actually know how it is down here on the shop floor, we who foot the bills think the magistrate got it right and it is about time that the same message got well spread.

2nd May 2003, 02:58
The man is a disgusting bully and an exemplar of his class.

Flying Lawyer
3rd May 2003, 05:49
I apologise in advance if I've got the wrong impression, but you strike me as the sort of person who might ordinarily accuse judges of being 'out of touch' with public opinion. Curiously, you suggest the magistrate made the comments "so as to boast to his lawyer chums". I suspect the truth is that most of his 'lawyer chums' will think the language he used was completely OTT, whereas the majority of public will think it's about time someone said it and support him.
When I was a young barrister cutting my teeth in the Mags Courts, some of the older Stipendiary Magistrates (legally qualified magistrates, now called District Judges) made comments which weren't very different from those made by the Oz Magistrate even of the language was more restrained. It wouldn't be acceptable here now, but perhaps the Oz culture is more forthright than ours.

"An exemplar of his class?"
What class is he? Middle class? Middle class by birth? Middle class because he worked hard and qualified in one of the professions?
Still, I'm sure you think prejudice is terrible.

3rd May 2003, 06:03
Flying Lawyer, you are right. I've been letting my prejudices show, and completely unwarranted prejudices they are too.

I was just fascinated by your reply to steamchicken about how you suspect the public will support him whereas most of his colleagues will be appalled. Let's give our prejudices some air here!

3rd May 2003, 15:18
I was just fascinated by your reply to steamchicken about how you suspect the public will support him whereas most of his colleagues will be appalled

WOW, can I borrow your time machine Hilico?!

How else could you possibly have known what FL was going to write > 24 hours beforehand? :hmm:

Back on topic...

All this bollocks about the choice of language - what a crock.

I guess we're expected to believe that this crack-smoking, prostitute junkie only ever speaks the Queen's English in "normal" conversation :rolleyes:

After Mabo the appeal court will probably grant this defendant vast tracts of land in compensation.

More problematically, if the defendant had been white, would there have been as big an outcry?

Of course not. Harsher words have been used in far more important cases where all concerned were not Aboriginal and not a peep from the press...

Too many middle-class white-boy lawyers to get fat from the feeding frenzy that is "Aboriginal Affairs" - read some recent history and see who most of the antagonists were. (Hiding behind some token Aboriginal group)

People always [email protected] about how 200+ years ago this and that happened, but conveniently forgetting all of the discrimination that's been going on for the last 20+ years because it isn't PC to talk about it (or defend the claims :rolleyes: )

3rd May 2003, 22:01
One has to wonder whether those who immediately assume that all white men are racist are merely basing their opinion on their own, poorly hidden, prejudices.

Strange that witch hunters tended to plead guilty when accused themselves. ;)

8th May 2003, 03:42
Steam Chicken, you sounded rather sensitive, didn't quite get your point about, because he could? Or was it because he was making comments about Pakis? Your comment about the Nazis piling up is because you feel persecuted??
The magistrate sounded off about someone using drugs as far as I could make out, and sponging off the system, the likelehood of a crack addict dying in the gutter is high so as far as I can see he was only pointing out the obvious. A more likely scenario is that he was sick and tired of seeing the same old thing day after day and had had enough and temporarily lost it.
But then I suppose we all see these things from a different perspective.

8th May 2003, 04:35
We are talking about Australia- right?

The country where they tell it as it is, so the remarks were in keeping with the straight talking expected, and should not be judged or critisised by Brits on the other side of the world.

8th May 2003, 11:06
Au contraire, bluskis;

I asked for thoughtful opinions on the story and I've received some. I would have put it in D&G if I only wanted Aussie opinions. Seems to me the story is a universal one.

8th May 2003, 12:09
As someone who spent about 10 years working as a barrister in Australian magistrates courts, he went too far.

I've heard magistrates use some blunt language to describe a defendant's behaviour or to question their future prospects but never to denigrate them or to express a personal point of view.

I also believe that it is a mistake for a magistrate to use colloquial language. It is not necessary, cheapens the person in authority and lessens the impact of what that person is trying to say.

The unfortunate aspect is that the racial element in this case is distorting the subsequent debate as to whether the magistrate should have said what he did.

8th May 2003, 15:24
The unfortunate aspect is that the racial element in this case is distorting the subsequent debate as to whether the magistrate should have said what he did.

What racial element?

There are two groups of people who want to put a racial slant on this, and they are the ones who would gain by so doing:

White lawyers - the legal aid is guaranteed for Aboriginal cases so it is a no-brainer to take the case and run (and run and run) with it;

PC antagonists - the media-luvvies will give them plenty of column inches (pun intended ;) ).

Tell me I'm wrong :rolleyes:

As Australians we didn't just call a spade a spade, we used to call bludgers, bludgers - I guess that's not allowed anymore either incase we upset the bludger's delicate state of mind... :yuk:

tony draper
8th May 2003, 15:47
I remember a certain Judge Pickles here, he told things as they were, to the great upset of the bloody luuvies here as well.
Pity a few more of our Judges don't do the same, they might be seen as being a bit more in touch .

8th May 2003, 16:33
I remember that Judge Pickles was also pro legalisation of all drugs based on libertarian grounds and the argument that it would reduce crime caused by people feeding their habit from expensive illegal sources.

A man of interesting opinions, definitely not the reactionary right-wing lunatic that the leftish elements of the media dismissed him as.

tony draper
8th May 2003, 16:52
I remember watching a interveiw with Judge Pickles for the first time, and being prepared to dislike him, but the man spoke nothing but good honest common sense.
I think he either retired soon after or was forced out, which is the more likely senario, we can't have public figures telling things as they are can we.

8th May 2003, 20:36
It would seem that, increasingly, good common sense flies in the face of political correctness, and in todays society that just will not do!:sad:

9th May 2003, 07:02

Your wrong.

An appeal from a magistrate court can only be based on an error of law, not an error of language.

No appeal so no money for "white lawyers".

9th May 2003, 14:26
Hmmm. We'll see :rolleyes:

Ten bucks (AUD) says that within 6 months some sort of civil action, funded by Australian taxpayers, will have been taken in relation to this case claiming damages of some kind.

Oh, and a further ten bucks (AUD) that the legal team will be headed by some far-left-wing, white, PC lawyer (even if they put a token Aboriginal somewhere in their midst for good PR and media manipulation).