Competency of Sr Magistrates Questioned: Report
Competency of Senior Magistrates Questioned: Report
The competency of senior magistrates was questioned in relation to matters they dealt with that were contrary to the terms of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Community Work Act, the Commission of Inquiry into the Magistrates' Courts Report found.
"Such as, orders being made by the Magistrates' Court at Ba where, amongst others Police Officers are being appointed as supervisors of persons carrying out community work orders and the Magistrate herself is being appointed as the supervisor," stated Commissioner, Mr John Connors.
"This shows a complete lack of understanding of the role of a judicial officer, in addition to an apparent lack of realisation that the only capacity to impose penalties or community work orders is that given by statute or otherwise."
The former High Court Judge stated that the incarceration of a male accused by an experienced magistrate for a short period of time "to teach him a lesson" showed a lack of understanding of the provisions of the Bail Act and a low level of competence.
"It becomes even more significant when the magistrate concerned was highlighting her actions in the course of a conference not realising that those actions were contrary to the legislation and ultra vires," Mr Connors revealed.
The Commissioner proposed the establishment of a proper continuing education programme together with an orientation programme for all new appointees.