Justice Minister Judith Collins has backed a woman ordered out of court for breastfeeding, saying she “could not think of anywhere” it would be considered offensive.
Neither can I. Arguably it could be thought a bit inappropriate at a funeral, but wouldn’t bother me (especially if ti was my funeral!). At a recent funeral, there were a couple of babies there and I thought it was actually quite nice to be reminded of new life, as we celebrated someone’s life and mourned their death.
Ms Collins was responding to the decision by Judge Kevin Phillips to eject Wanaka woman Catherine Owen from Queenstown District Court on Wednesday.
The minister said that as a mother who had breastfed, “it’s better to feed a child than let a child cry”.
“I obviously can’t comment on what judges do in their courts … [they] are the masters and mistresses of their courts.
“But I would have thought that most people are not offended at the sight of a mother breastfeeding a little baby and I can’t think of anywhere this is considered to be offensive.
“There is nothing … unusual about it; they should be congratulated.”
Judge Phillips questioned why there was “a woman breastfeeding in my courtroom”. Ms Owen rose to take her daughter to the public waiting area as she was being approached by the bailiff.
A good answer would have been “As I wish to observe the trial, as members of the public have the right to do, and my baby is hungry”.