CLANT response to Judge Austin’s attack on NT defence lawyers

No defence = No Justice

CLANT supports NT defence lawyers.

Defence lawyers are integral to the administration of justice in the Northern Territory. An attack on defence lawyers is an attack on the justice system itself.

Fundamental principles of fairness require that Justice is not only done but must be seen to be done. The current circumstances bring into question judicial impartiality and must be condemned.

The role of the defence lawyer during a plea of guilty is to present mitigatory factors to the court based on objective evidence and the subjective circumstances of the defendant.

In no way do those submissions amount to permission to engage in criminal activity. Any suggestion to that effect is both unfair and nonsensical.

We demand that all parties appearing before the courts are treated with courtesy, respect, and basic human decency.

We call on the Chief Judge and the Judicial Commission to investigate this matter thoroughly to ensure confidence is restored in the administration of Justice.