By JR on Monday, December 12, 2011
Police and prosecutors complain of a trend of inexplicable leniency in sentencing, and a recent survey by Victoria's Sentencing Advisory Council found the public also thinks judges are out of touch and too soft on violent crime.
This indicates a crisis of public confidence in our judiciary.
Take, for example, a recent case in the NSW District Court in which Justice Leonie Flannery acquitted a terror suspect who shot a police officer while being arrested.
The man, who was under ASIO surveillance, was carrying two loaded guns, had acquired chemicals in preparation for a terrorist act, and had possession of jihadi extremist material and 11 mobile phones he had purchased on eBay. But Judge Flannery claimed an environment of anti-Muslim feeling, which engendered in the Muslim community a high sense of paranoia, had made the man panic when police came to arrest him near a western Sydney mosque in 2005.
"He was concerned for his safety, and (in) the climate of anti-Muslim feeling in the community at the time, he believed that he might be harmed by the police."
She concluded the suspect had not intended to shoot the policeman and therefore found him not guilty.