Fine 'not the most compassionate'

ATTORNEY General Cameron Dick says most Queenslanders would think Rockhampton Acting Magistrate Mark Morrow's decision “not the most compassionate” to fine a woman who failed to give evidence in court after dropping her rape allegations.

As reported in Thursday's Morning Bulletin, Acting Magistrate Morrow fined the woman $100, saying her actions put the administration of justice in disrepute and forced him to discharge the accused.

A statement issued by Mr Dick's office relating to the case said: “Queenslanders expect our justice system to be compassionate toward victims.

“That is why the Queensland Government has introduced very strong laws to protect vulnerable witnesses.

“In cases like the one reported, magistrates have broad discretion in how they respond to non-attendance and there are several options, other than fining a victim, available to the courts.”

He said if a witness failed to appear on a summons options included discharging the person (i.e. no penalty incurred), to entering the person into a good behaviour bond or fining up to $200.

“Given the options available to the court, I understand and appreciate that most Queenslanders would think the fine handed down to this woman was not the most compassionate response,” Mr Dick's statement said.



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