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Magistrate should be suspended pending enquiry into conduct.



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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

Media Releases

Magistrate should be suspended pending enquiry into conduct

1/5/2003

Statement by ATSIC Patpa Warra Yunti Regional Council Chairman Tauto Sansbury

I am appalled and quite disturbed about the remarks attributed to Magistrate Michael Frederick during the recent sentencing of a young Aboriginal woman in Adelaide.

Reports of foul language and the alleged use of curses such as “damn you to death” are serious and warrant an official investigation of conduct.

I find it outrageous that a person who sits in such an important position appears to have no understanding of Aboriginal people, the issues and problems they struggle with on a day-to-day basis and yet allegedly make such remarks.

Despite having a batch of files in front of him, Magistrate Frederick cannot know this girl’s full circumstances or background.

I am a former chairman of the Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee in SA and have worked within the criminal justice system for well over 20 years.

SA Attorney General Michael Atkinson has said Magistrate Frederick will be summoned to the Chief Justice’s office in the next two days to explain his actions.

That is not good enough.

Magistrate Frederick should be suspended from his position as a magistrate pending an official enquiry into his conduct.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO ERIC ROBERTS ON 0417 818482

INTERVIEWS: TAUTO SANSBURY ON 04296 76957