Magistrate Richard Pithouse referred to judicial watchdog after suggesting alleged rape victim had ‘buyer’s remorse’

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Posted

January 02, 2019 16:58:35

Victoria’s judicial watchdog will investigate a Melbourne magistrate over comments he made in court which suggested an alleged rape victim had suffered “buyer’s remorse”.

Key points:

  • Richard Pithouse reportedly said an alleged sex assault victim “put herself in that position”
  • A petition to refer him to the Judicial Commission has received almost 8,000 signatures
  • A spokesman for the Attorney-General said his comments were “not in line with community expectations”

The Judicial Commission of Victoria, which probes complaints against magistrates and judges, has received a referral from Attorney-General Jill Hennessy to look into the matter.

“It’s clear these comments are not in line with community expectations, and have caused distress to sexual assault survivors,” said a spokesman for Ms Hennessy.

“That’s why the Attorney-General is referring this matter to the Judicial Commission for further investigation.”

During an exchange in court last year, Magistrate Richard Pithouse reportedly told a woman who claims she was raped that she had “put herself in that position” and had suffered “buyer’s remorse”, according to the Herald Sun.

“There’s an old adage … that you can’t profit from your own malfeasance,” the magistrate allegedly said.

Pithouse petition gets momentum

The comments have infuriated some sections of the community, and sparked a petition calling for Magistrate Pithouse to be referred to the Judicial Commission.

The petition has received almost 8,000 signatures.

The Judicial Commission is an independent body and usually investigates excessive delays, inappropriate courtroom conduct and health issues affecting magistrates or judges.

It has the power to dismiss a complaint or refer it on.

In a statement, the commission said it would carefully consider the referral by Ms Hennessy.

“There is no set timeframe for when the investigation will reach its conclusion,” it said.

“While the investigation is ongoing, it is not appropriate for the Commission to make any further comment.”

Topics:

judges-and-legal-profession,

sexual-offences,

law-crime-and-justice,

melbourne-3000,

vic



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