LOCAL COURT NEEDS TO GET TOUGH ON REPEAT OFFENDERS SAYS MARSHALL

** Dropbox link to a video and audio of Mr Marshall’s speech in Parliament can be found at: www.dropbox.com/s/e6a4n4h0aj3mfq8/video.legislative-assembly.2023-05-24T10_33_42.702Z.2023-05-24T10_38_52.317Z.MP4?dl=0

Thursday, 25 May 2023

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has taken to the floor of State Parliament last night to call on the presiding Magistrate servicing the Inverell and Moree Local Court circuit to get tough on repeat offenders.

In his speech in the Legislative Assembly Mr Marshall raised the serious concerns being expressed to him by local community members, councils and police about the “limp-wristed approach” of the local court to repeat and serious offenders in the last 12 months.

“We have seen a growing number of offenders, particularly younger offenders, continue to terrorise members of our community across the region,” Mr Marshall said.

“The efforts of our hardworking police, and community working in conjunction with police, have been thwarted by the fact that the Local Court seems unwilling to mete out penalties that are commensurate with the laws of this State and with community standards.

“I am a great defender of the independence of the judiciary, but while the judiciary is independent, it does not and cannot operate in complete isolation from the community in which it works and which it serves.

“It gives me no pleasure at all to say that in the case of the magistrate servicing the Inverell and Moree circuit, the Local Court is making decisions that are far removed from the expectations and standards of the community.

“The community would expect that repeat offenders who continue to steal vehicles and post videos on TikTok, who break into homes, or who attack elderly people, brandishing knives, baseball bats and other implements would be removed from the community and given custodial sentences.

“They would not expect them to be bailed, given section 9 bonds or section 10 dismissals and put back on the streets, where the police have to spend their time recapturing, re-arresting and putting before the courts again the same individuals for breaching their bail conditions—to which they knew from the outset they would never adhere.”

Mr Marshall told the House of a stark example of the Local Court’s soft approach in Moree was brought to his attention recently and has been a lightning rod for community discontent.

“Through some good police work, a man was recently arrested in Moree carrying a loaded shotgun and 24 shotgun cartridges on his person in a public place,” Mr marshall said.

“The man was put before the Local Court in Moree and was bailed – back out in the community – after brandishing a fully loaded shotgun. Unsurprisingly, the police had to recapture that person because he breached the bail conditions that same night. He was re-arrested, but instead the police decided to take him to Armidale to put him before a different magistrate.

“What the hell was going on here? How can someone carrying a loaded shotgun in public with 24 cartridges be put back out on the streets after the police have done their good work, arrested them and tried to remove them from the community?”

Mr Marshall said he had met with victims of crime, police and community members who are completely fed up with the situation and feel like they are not being backed up and supported by the Local Court.

“Locals feel as though the court system is failing them, failing our police and allowing repeat offenders to go back onto the streets and reoffend time and time again,” he said.

Mr Marshall said met with the Minister for Police this week in Parliament to raise concerns and has a meeting next week with the Attorney General to press for changes to be made quickly.

“I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that our Local Court applies the law and reflects community standards,” Mr Marshall said.

“If the local Magistrate chooses not to then the Chief Magistrate of the Local Court should move them on.

“Something has to change before we see one of these repeat offenders cause the loss of an innocent life.”

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