Australian jailed for calling magistrate ‘mate’

November 1st, 2010 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Nov 1 (IANS) A chief magistrate of an Australian state has been urged to introduce anger management courses for members of the judiciary after a man was jailed for addressing a magistrate as “mate”.

Thomas John Collins was sent to the cells after twice calling Magistrate Matthew McLaughlin “mate” during a hearing last week, Courier Mail reported Monday.

When Magistrate McLaughlin objected ordering Collins to address him as “sir or your honour”, the defendant replied “okay mate” and was sent for a stint in the cells.

He later returned to the courtroom to apologise. Ipswich City Councillor Paul Tully said the incident followed another in Toowoomba, where a magistrate hauled two tradesmen before the court for making too much noise, and threatened to charge them with contempt.

Councillor Tully said the pomposity of some magistrates had gone too far. “It is getting out of control,” he said.

“Some of these magistrates see themselves as Lord of the Fifedom.”

He said there was nothing “more Australian than calling someone mate” and it was hard to believe someone could be locked up for using the word.

“It’s probably time for magistrates to understand they have a wide variety of people before them and calling someone mate is a term of endearment,” Tully said.

“I say to every magistrate - Come on mate, get off your high horse and show some tolerance.”

He also called on Queensland Chief Magistrate Judge Brendan Butler to introduce annual anger management classes for all Queensland magistrates.

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