Gisborne man jailed for swearing at judge

A judge fed up with poor court room behaviour has jailed a Gisborne man for 28 days after the man yelled at him "Is that all, c...?" from the public gallery.

Judge Tony Adeane, who works in Hawke's Bay and Gisborne district courts, said Gisborne had a "particular problem" with bad behaviour in court, after he jailed James Kennedy Grant, 26, for abusing him, the Dominion Post reported.

Grant's abuse came at the end of a week of "bad manners" in Gisborne District Court last week, the judge said.

Grant was in the public gallery to support a friend and was unhappy at the outcome. As he was leaving, yelled out to Judge Adeane: "Is that all, c...?"

Law Society president Jonathan Temm said it was rare for a judge to jail people for such behaviour, but it had become "par for the course" in many courts, with Gisborne no different from many other courts in lower socio-economic communities.

"People do tend to straighten up [their behaviour] in court, but you get a small minority who are inarticulate, poorly educated, and they have no skills available [to vent] their frustration."

Chief District Court Judge Russell Johnson said that members of the public yelling out to a judge was relatively new.

He did not believe abuse of courts had got markedly worse, but that it followed the path of "belligerence that has worsened over the last several decades".

That reflected society, he said.

"People ... are not so likely to accept authority. [But] it used to be unusual for the gallery to try and interfere with proceedings."

Courts Minister Georgina Te Heuheu's office said she was not aware of worsening behaviour in courts, but had requested information from the Justice Ministry.

NZPA

source: newshub archive