JUDGEMENT DAY: It’s a good tip to keep gestures like these to outside the courthouse like Patrick Loyd Swayne (left) and Trent John Horton display here as they leave court with their astute solicitor Doug Winning after a matter in 2011.
JUDGEMENT DAY: It’s a good tip to keep gestures like these to outside the courthouse like Patrick Loyd Swayne (left) and Trent John Horton display here as they leave court with their astute solicitor Doug Winning after a matter in 2011. Kathryn Greensill

Furious magistrate empties court to punish bad manners

WHEN Magistrate Michael O'Driscoll heard a mobile phone chime in the middle of court proceedings, he put his foot down.

The Magistrate took a no-nonsense approach to court proceedings on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr O'Driscoll began dealings by rousing on a man for sitting on the lap of another in the back of the courtroom; telling him it was inappropriate behaviour and to find a seat or go outside.

The sound of a mobile phone chiming interrupted court proceedings twice within half an hour and Mr O'Driscoll warned that if it happened again, everyone would be ousted.

When the phone chimed for a third time, Mr O'Driscoll exercised his authority and taught everyone a lesson in good manners.

"That's it," he bellowed from the front of the court.

"Everyone in the public gallery at the back of the court can leave the room. The media can stay."

Brian McGowran, of McGowran Lawyers, said defendants needed to remember they were being judged on their behaviour and appearance the second they stepped into the courtroom.

"Dress like you're going to a funeral or to a job interview," Mr McGowran said.

"You're being judged. That's his (the Magistrate's) job title - Judge."

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Shaun Janes said people were expected to behave in the courtroom.

"Persons appearing before the court need to appreciate they are there because they committed offences outside the court and if they displayed a similar attitude in court by way of dressing inappropriately, talking in the back of the court, having their phones turned on etc, and interrupting the court proceedings, it's not going to look favourable when it's their turn to appear," Snr Const Janes said.

"It's a combination of everything. We experienced yesterday (Wednesday) a phone going off on the third occasion and the result was what we saw. I've actually seen phones get confiscated by magistrates before."

 

COURT ETIQUETTE

Dress Code:

No singlet tops

No shoe string tops

No strapless dresses or tops

No hats or sunglasses

No high-visibility work wear

In the courtroom you must:

Obey all instructions given by the Magistrate

Sit quietly and not disturb proceedings

Not eat, drink or smoke

Turn off all mobile phones

Audio recording and photography is forbidden

Stand whenever the depositions clerk or bailiff calls 'all rise' when the magistrate or judge enters or leaves the courtroom

Bow your head to acknowledge the magistrate or judge every time you enter or leave the courtroom

Address the magistrate or judge as 'Your Honour'



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