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Court Conduct Still Not a Government Priority

The State Labor Government as again ignored the needs of our courts and judiciary by voting down laws that would create a criminal offence for showing disrespectful behaviour in South Australian Courts.

The State Liberals introduced the Summary Offences (Disrespectful Conduct in Court) Amendment Bill 2016 to ensure the safety of judiciary and court staff across the State.

“In our courts we have unfortunately seen behaviour from arrestees that is simply unacceptable,” said Shadow Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman.

“The initiative comes following a recent South Australian case where three people were arrested for aggravated armed robbery, who then subjected the presiding Magistrate to unacceptable abuse in court!

The new offence is designed to bridge the gap between the judge’s power to have someone removed from court and the charge of contempt of court, with a maximum penalty of $1250 fine or 3 months’ imprisonment.

“By voting down this Bill it is clear that the Weatherill Government, and the Attorney-General, do not make it a priority to protect our court personnel,” said Ms Chapman.

The Hon Dennis Hood has a similar Bill in the Legislative Council.

“If the Legislative Council pass Mr Hood’s Bill then the Attorney-General will have the opportunity to come to his senses and support our judiciary,” said Ms Chapman.

“The State Liberals will continue to support members of the Judiciary and court staff. Our community expect a certain level of respect within court, and this initiative reflects those expectations.”

The State Labor Government have continually backed away from plans to build a new court precinct and rejuvenate the State’s crumbling court buildings.