Court Report

685 words - 3 pages

Court ReportThe Australian Judiciary system is meant to uphold the law and dispense fair and equal justice upon all who come before it. It is, in theory, a way for power to be balanced between parties in society and is available to all who require its services regardless of sex, race, religion or financial standing. However, from a recent visit to the Magistrate and Supreme Courts, the theory of equal standing of all before law seems to be dissipating as financial standing and money start to have an ever increasing influence on the Judicial system. A myriad of changes must be employed to ensure that the current standing values of the Australian Judicial system are not lost.The Townsville Law Courts architecture emits a foreboding and intimidating vibe when approached. The large concrete infrastructure rises up and engulfs you as you walk into the Courtroom building giving those entering a feeling of belittlement; you are entering something much larger and more important than yourself. Once inside the Courthouse one must wait until called to their court room for their hearing. The limited seating forces people to stand while waiting or sit on the concrete outside in the heat. At a time of such stress and anxiety the standing does little to ease tension or nerves among those gathered for the day.The Courtroom itself it gives off an intimidating feeling. The judge is seated higher than the rest of those in the courtroom giving them an air of supremacy and control. It is of great irony that the person to ensure equality of the law is themselves above and unequal to those who surround them. There is a glass dock in which a defendant must sit while his case his heard. The box is in sight of all who are there giving a feeling of watching an animal in a cage, not a person undergoing the often traumatic and anxious experience of trial. The dock can give the impression that the defendant is already guilty and is needed to be kept away from those in the courtroom. This reasoning is in direct conflict with the theory of innocent until proven guilty.The Magistrates case that was viewed was in relation to a prisoners attempted escape from lawful custody (Police v West). The prisoner had pleaded guilty early in an attempt to have his sentence reduced. He was also appearing over a video linkup from a high security compound in Brisbane. This was in order to save money by not having to transport him from Brisbane to Townsville. The Magistrate judge thanked the defendant for pleading guilty and gave him a lighter sentence on the grounds that he had saved the taxpayers a considerable amount of money in legal proceedings. The police prosecutor had earlier told of how this had been his second escape attempt after succeeding a year earlier and committing two armed robberies. He also mentioned how the defendant had a concealed blade and a replica handgun in possession when captured. This obvious contempt for the law however seemed insignificant though as the defendant had pleaded guilty and "saved taxpayers dollars". This was an example of how money is playing a growing part of our judicial system and how public policy is pressuring the judiciary system to cut costs as much as they can.The Australian Judiciary system in theory is one that promotes equality and fairness before the law. However, the Courts themselves are intimidating and bewildering places that only increase to the already high levels of stress and anxiety of the people involved. Many changes can be put in place to help alleviate these problems such as new architectural design and layouts, and new, less intimidating courtroom proceedings. However, these changes seem unlikely to ever happen as the system bogs down in outdated ceremony and procedures and the fear that changes would be too costly.


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