This question came in on an email from Phil. Now, the pretext to the question first. And I quote:
'I assume judges do a good job of sentencing and for this to be misrepresented to the community creates problems: We are left with the ridiculous situation where ordinary people, through their interaction with newspapers/TV/Facebook, have come to believe they know better than judges.’
I put this to Justice Lasry, and the question is:
‘Why aren’t more journalists ever charged with scandalising the Court?’
Justice Lex Lasry: Well, we’ve been close to that a few times but I think the answer is because not many journalists do scandalise the court. If they were then there’d be a consequence. But most journalists - sounds like I’m sucking up to them - but really, most journalists do the best they can to report what they see in court and what happens in court. So it only happens when a journalist decides in a particular case to take on the judge or to be critical of the judge in a way that is scandalous.
I’ve said many times, I have no problem with sentences of mine or anyone else being criticised so long as the criticism’s reasonably objective and informed. And if it’s informed criticism - I understand why people want to criticise us. And the pretext of the question refers to the fact that what you get is an article in a newspaper that may be half a column long - the devastating consequences of a crime and a figure.
And to a lot of people, that figure just isn’t long enough imprisonment because they haven’t understood what else is in there. The only way people can be informed obviously is to go online and read the judge’s reasons and they don’t always make really interesting reading but they’re there.
Supreme Court of Victoria 17 Jun 2019
|Supreme Court of Victoria
|16 May 2019
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