Judging the Judges

The have launched their Judge the Judges website.

I have some mixed feelings on this. I don’t like the personal focus on some individual Judges, and especially do not like the inclusion of their photos on the site. Having said that, in the age of televised trials many Judges have appeared on the TV news.

Some of the cases highlighted are worth highlighting. There have been some appallingly light sentences handed out. Many of these have been reported on in the media, and often subject to successful Crown appeal.

The website does not just highlight the cases where the sentence was too light. They have included cases where they think the Judge got it right on. I wonder if they would include cases where they think the sentence was excessive, if such a thing is possible?

One good aspect of the site is they have included full sentencing notes from the Judges for some of the cases. This is a useful service. As far as I know these are not available elsewhere online to the public. If people do use the site, I’d recommend they do more than just read the summaries but read the full sentencing notes.

As I said I have some mixed feelings on this initiative. I’d prefer the focus was on sentences, rather than Judges. I’d also suggest they try and get full sentencing notes appended to all the cases, rather than just some of them. But I do think some of the sentences out there do need a spotlight focused on them.

Some of the pressure should go on the Crown to appeal manifestly too low sentences. When Judges do get it wrong, the best response is an appeal.

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