Victorian Bar condemns unwarranted attack on judiciary

13Jun2017

The Victorian Bar, together with its Criminal Bar Association, condemns the unwarranted attack on the rule of law and independence of the judiciary by federal politicians, reported in this morning’s Australian newspaper.

"Respect for the rule of law requires respect for the process of law," Victorian Bar President Jennifer Batrouney QC said today.

"It is of great concern that comments made by judges during the hearing of an appeal, which is yet to be determined, are being taken out of context in the political debate."

"Robust commentary and discussion are a hallmark of a strong democracy, but so too is respect for the law, due process, and the independence of the judiciary. These statements give the perception that they are calculated to influence the Court’s decision before judgement is given. That intrusion is inconsistent with respect for the rule of law."

In the cases referred to in today’s media [1], the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has appealed the decision of single judges of the Supreme Court of Victoria, arguing the sentences imposed were manifestly inadequate.

The Court of Appeal judgment will provide a reasoned analysis of all of the evidence and arguments considered. If the DPP is dissatisfied with the decisions, she may seek to appeal to the High Court. That process should be respected.

"Once judgment is handed down there will be ample time for informed debate," Mrs Batrouney QC said.

"The Victorian Bar urges all those engaging in political debate to be mindful of the fundamental constitutional arrangements that enshrine the independence of our judiciary and to support, not denigrate, the rule of law."

 

[1] 'Victorian judiciary "light on terrorism"' The Australian, 13 June 2017

 

Media Enquiries: 

Michelle Hindson on +61 414 207 049 or by email to michelle@hindsonconsulting.com

Sarah Fregon on +61 3 9225 7990 or by email to ceo@vicbar.com.au