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Neil Mitchell’s warning to the Victorian judiciary

Neil Mitchell says Victorian judges’ decision not to participate in community discussion around criminal sentencing could lead to something judges dislike even more, mandatory sentencing.

As reported in The Herald Sun, Victoria’s judges have pulled out of a sentencing council, which would have seen judges, magistrates, police, victims of crime, and others get together to discuss appropriate sentences.

“To my mind it undermines the whole point of the council, it weakens it, to the point it may be pointless,” Neil said.

“I urge them to think again.

“It just reinforces that ivory tower image of the judges, which is often unfair, but I’d really like them to get out on the front foot.

“In response to this the Opposition is talking about extending mandatory sentencing.

“Which in my view is illogical and potentially dangerous.”

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Greg Davies, Victims of Crime Commissioner, says the decision will anger victims and further damage the public opinion of judges.

“Do they get it? That is, the very vocal call around Victoria for harsher sentencing particularly for violent and sexual crimes, I don’t know that they do,” Mr Davies said.

“I think it will annoy a lot of victims, I think it’ll make them very angry.”

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Attorney-General Martin Pakula told Neil he would like to pursue the model of the council.

“The chief judge and I will be having a conversation about this and other matters in the not-too-distant future,” Mr Pakula said.

“It was initially met with resistance in the UK too, but now they praise it and public confidence in the justice system has improved.”

Click PLAY below to hear from the Attorney General