The Queensland Law Society has defended the Court of Appeal after Judge Clive Wall, QC, criticised the appellate court for thinking more of the accused instead of the victims.
“I have no doubt that there’s a large section of the community that would agree with the comments by Judge Wall,” Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts told the publication.
However, he added that a “one-size-fits-all approach” is not suitable for justice.
“I think it is important members of the public realise sentencing, and the way in which the courts deal with both victims and perpetrators, is a case-by-case undertaking,” Potts said.
Earlier, judge Wall told the publication that, “Too much emphasis is placed on accused people at the expense of victims, and that is all encouraged by the Court of Appeal.”
“I don’t go around trying to provoke the Court of Appeal, (but) I try to impose sentences which go some way to satisfying the community and the victims,” he added.
“Some judges on the Court of Appeal have never sentenced anyone. I’m not criticising them personally, but I think it helps if appellant judges have trial experience,” Wall said.
However, the Law Society president cautioned about doling out harsh sentences without thinking of other factors such as rehabilitation.
“A sentence which does nothing but deliver the harshest of penalties to the offender is unlikely to benefit the community in the long run, nor the offender, who is likely to commit further crime,’’ he said.
“There are always issues on which reasonable minds might disagree. The fact some sentences may be altered on appeal is merely an indication the system works. Queenslanders can be confident they are well served by their judiciary at all levels,” Potts said, adding that the Law Society wished the judge a “long and happy retirement.”
One District Court judge’s retirement has become heated after he criticised the Court of Appeal a day before he retired from the bench.