Sleeping judge criticised for rape trial snooze
New South Wales Attorney-General Bob Debus says he hopes the Judicial Commission will have greater powers in future to intervene in cases where judges behaviour is questionable.
District Court Judge Ian Dodd has been criticised in the past for falling asleep on the bench, explaining the behaviour because he suffers from sleep apnoea.
An alleged rape victim has gone public saying Justice Dodd missed vital evidence and his regular snoring may have influenced the jury, who acquitted the accused rapist.
Mr Debus says a review of the commission's powers will hopefully prevent it happening in the future.
"Quite some time ago the judge sought treatment and has a clearance from a treating specialist," he said.
"That judge nevertheless has written a letter of apology to the young woman involved.
"Of course she deserves an apology and I haven't finished with the matter yet."
A judge falls alseep IN COURT in the middle of HEARING EVIDENCE and walks away with his only "punishment" as writing a letter of apology to the victim in the trial. What is our judicial system coming to for petes sake? I don't care what "excuse" he presents in the form of being a sleep apnoea patient or whatever, if his health prevents him from doing his job he should step down in favour of someone who can.
Imagine if a pilot fell asleep at the controls of a plane? Imagine if a bus driver fell asleep at the wheel? If a teacher fell asleep in front of a class full of kids? If a doctor nodded off during surgery? Would they be patted on the head and told to run along?? No!! Like the rest of us who fail to perform in our professional duties they'd be disciplined, or sacked at worst. Yet here is a judge falling asleep IN COURT!!
Never mind him writing a letter to the victim apologising - they should apply for a mistrial and allow the case to be heard again with a competant magistrate at the bench. And his apology should have been public - as a public servant he should be apologising to all of US as well.