Sleeping on the job

The NSW Judicial Commission has dismissed a complaint against a Sydney judge who reportedly fell asleep and snored through the evidence of an alleged rape victim. The Daily Telegraph newspaper on Tuesday said Judge Ian Dodd had admitted to being asleep while a woman gave evidence about alleged sex attacks which began when she was six.

I don't hold a job that decides which course a person's life is going to take, I don't drive a 10 ton truck, or drive a train or fly a plane, yet my employer will not be happy if I fall asleep on the job.

Documents obtained by the paper showed Judge Dodd snored as he slept for 15 minutes at a time. The victim felt "destroyed and humiliated" and was concerned the judge's response may have influenced the jury's decision to rule the defendant not guilty. The accused was later convicted and jailed for 12 years for a sexual assault on another person in a hearing before a different judge.

Yet this judge fell asleep while hearing the evidence of the victim, the accused was released and then later commited another rape and was found guilty of that. Maybe if he had bothered to hear the victims testimony and found this fellow guilty then the second person would not have been raped. The judicial commission doesn't give a stuff, it wasn't one of them who got raped so who cares.

The Judicial Commission did not uphold the woman's complaint, stating in a letter that there was no evidence of the judge's "unresponsiveness". "There was no evidence that the judge's condition had affected his understanding of what was going on during the trial or his rulings and directions," the commission stated.

I guess pilots, train drivers and motor vehicle drivers are allowed to fall asleep at the wheel and cannot be punished unless there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that they don't know what they are doing when asleep at the wheel.

Judge Dodd acknowledged he had fallen asleep, a problem apparently linked to the disorder known as sleep apnoea. He apologised to the complainant in a letter to the commission, saying he had not been diagnosed of his condition at the time of the 2003 trial. "(The complainant) feels that I did not treat her humanely and with courtesy and respect and that I was gruff and arrogant," Judge Dodd wrote.

"I apologise for any behaviour on my part which has caused her to feel that way." The Telegraph reported that this was one of several cases in which the judge had been accused of falling asleep.

Yes we must trust the system.

The complainant, now aged 30, has lobbied Premier Bob Carr to force the judge to face "serious disciplinary action". "I want him removed from the bench," she said. She also wrote to Attorney-General Bob Debus who stated in his reply that he intended to pursue "a number of unresolved issues with the commission".


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