Alan’s 8.10 editorial 26.06.17
Judiciary June 26 2017
Well, Federal Ministers, Greg Hunt, Michael Sukkar and Alan Tudge, are off the hook on threatened contempt charges after abjectly apologizing to the Victorian Court of Appeal on Friday for earlier comments suggesting Victorian judges are handing out light sentences to people convicted of terrorism offences
Since when were unelected judges and Courts quarantined from criticism?
Derryn Hinch said he would have told the Victorian Court of Appeal to “go jump” if he were in the shoes of the 3 Ministers
The Victorian Court of Appeal claimed the Ministers’ criticism appeared “to be calculated to influence the Court”
But the idea judges, who alone decide sentences, would be influenced by politicians’ comments defies commonsense
In fact, the Victorian Court of Appeal acknowledged on Friday that judges would not be influenced by such comments
So what was all the fuss about?
Well, the other element apparently backing possible contempt was the suggestion the Ministers’ comments “scandalized” the Court and may have undermined public confidence in the judicial system
If there is a crisis of confidence in the system then I would have thought the system itself, by virtue of its decisions, not political criticism, is responsible
I note on Friday the Victorian Court of Appeal rejected the appeals of 2 men convicted of terrorism offences and increased their gaol sentences
Has a message been received after all?
Judges and Courts ought to be able to cop criticism without threatening their critics with charges of contempt