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.