Judge Simon Williams has been criticised by a former colleague after he said the judge “does not get to judge” people on social networks.
Mr Williams was appointed to the bench in 2014, after the resignation of Mr Justice Peter MacKinnon who was the judge at the time.
The former judge was scathing about the way social media had been used to “troll” judges.
“I would be very surprised if a person who was in the public eye, who was involved in a court proceeding, did not feel that if they had a complaint about that behaviour, they could say that that was not a proper and fair judicial process,” he said.
“It’s really not fair.”
Judge Williams, who is also a barrister, said it was unfair that the public would be “treated to” the court being “rushed” to make a decision.
“We get treated to that,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
He said it would have been “extremely rare” for someone to make the allegation on social networking platforms. “
People don’t get to see what happens.”
He said it would have been “extremely rare” for someone to make the allegation on social networking platforms.
Judge Williams also accused the Federal Government of failing to ensure that the court system was a “safe space” for the public, and that it had failed to develop a culture of respect for the rule of law.
“When the public is treated to this cavalier approach, then you’ve got to wonder if that’s a fair system,” he added.
The Australian Human Rights Commission said that the issue of abuse and bullying online should be a “top priority” for all courts.
“In order to prevent the spread of abuse online and to ensure a level playing field for all sides, we need to make sure that people who make allegations of abuse are properly treated and are heard in the court and that they get the full protection of the law,” a spokesperson said.
‘Rushed’ to act A statement from Mr Justice Williams’ office said the decision to remove Judge Williams was a matter for the Federal Attorney-General.
“As a Federal judge, the Deputy Chief Judge has no power to order the Federal Magistrates Court to take a position or to impose a duty on any person to report any conduct of a judge that is alleged to have caused the victim emotional distress or distress, and the Deputy Attorney-Genial Department will make every reasonable effort to ensure the courts process is conducted in a timely manner,” the statement said.
The statement also said that in light of the judge’s comments, the Federal Justice Commission is “very concerned” about the “very urgent” issue of bullying online.
The Federal Justice Commissioner is to conduct a thorough review into bullying and the role of the courts in preventing it, it said.
A spokesperson for Federal Attorney General Nicola Roxon said the Federal Department of Human Services and the Federal Police were investigating.
“This is a serious matter, and we are taking a robust approach to ensure it is dealt with appropriately and appropriately dealt with in a prompt manner,” she said. ABC/wires