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It's not often that we can report this sort of thing, so when it happens, it really is newsworthy.
We refer to an editorial in that paper of today's date (March 8, 2001), which called for the immediate sacking of a corrupt County Court Judge Robert Kent.
Kent had pled guilty two days earlier (6 March) to five serious tax charges and owed the tax office $195,037.
These charges weren't something out of character for the lawyer turned judge either.
He had at least six prior convictions for tax offences, all of which were hushed up at the time he took up his post on the County Court bench. How can a court be regarded as fair when we have a known criminal sitting in judgement of people being charged by the authorities - not all of whom are criminals like Kent? Now had any mere mortal been charged with effectively ripping off the tax office $195,037 the only possible sentence would be jail. The only question would be how long.
For the amount of money owed and the fact that the charges stemmed from several years of obviously systematic tax evasion, the logical (and based on precedent) penalty would be conviction and several years jail. But because Kent was a County Court judge he was exempted from the law that binds every one else and given a so-called "Good behavior bond". He wasn't even convicted!
Rip off a milk-bar for a "Mars Bar" and you'll get a conviction, so what was happening here?
And who was the magistrate who decided to violate all decency and ethics to let this criminal judge off the hook? John Myers of Frankston Magistrate's Court. Now if you front Myers for a mere traffic violation or overstaying a parking meter, expect a criminal conviction that will stay with you for life. Ditto if you forget to vote.
That's the law and we all know that you can't break it!
But if you're a fellow member of the judiciary, it seems that you can just about commit murder and he'll let you off the hook.
So the Herald-Sun was right in calling for Judge Kent's immediate removal from the bench. However they didn't go far enough.
The paper should also have called for the immediate removal of John Myers as a magistrate.
His decision to let the judge off the hook demonstrates a clear lack of ethics and that he is totally out of touch with public expectations.
And then there are other people whose integrity should also be questioned or at least revisited. Namely the bunch of lawyers and mates who gave character evidence in favor of Judge Kent.
Included were Victoria's chief crown prosecutor, Paul Coghlan, former Commonwealth DPP, Michael Rozenes, QC, three magistrates, chairman of the bar council, Mark Derham QC, Liberal MP, Andrew McIntosh, Ex Supreme Court Judge George Hampel (now a professor), and fellow County Court Judge Michael Kelly.
Now if these supposedly distinguished men are genuinely rushing out to try to save the skin of a self-confessed criminal tax-evader, what right do they now have to prosecute and/or hear criminal cases where people have to defend themselves against the legal firepower of the state - many of whom are innocent of the charges they may face?
In claiming mitigation of his circumstances, Judge Kent told the magistrate and the media that he was disorganized. Maybe, but then how does this explain his constant refusal to lodge tax returns and pay his taxes even after the tax office sent him notices asking him to do so?
And then, if the man is in fact as disorganized as he claims (or was this just a ruse to get off the charges?), then surely a man so disorganized as to fail to lodge tax returns and rip off the tax office nearly $200,000 is not a fit and proper person of integrity or organization to be running a court and sit in judgement of others.
Oh and how credible was Kent's evidence in front of the magistrate.
As far as we can make out, not very.
At one stage he told the magistrate he couldn't pay a $10,000 bill, but then that apparently changed after he got together to do what appeared to be a deal with the prosecutor and his lawyers.
And how much does he earn as a County Court Judge?
The base salary is $172,000 and that's for a five-day working week with at best seven hours a day on the bench. Take out leave entitlements and the like and we make it out to be about a grand a day.
It's the sort of thing average workers can only ever dream of.
And then there's the superannuating on top of that!
And then what sort of Judge is Kent when hearing criminal matters?
Based on what we can find out, bloody shocking.
He seems to side with the criminals!
In a case the previous month he told a woman who was sexually abused to forget about it and stop looking for someone to punish.
Kent's comments came after the man had already pled guilty to sexual offences against the woman over a four-year period when she was aged 12-17.
The woman now aged 26 said that she now understood why sexual assault victims didn't want to come forward.
She described Kent as "trying to blame me".
Furthermore the pedophile had already offered compensation to the victim before Kent made his unnecessary remarks.
For these very serious offences the man was to set to spend a mere nine months in custody.
Further evidence that there are different laws for different people in Victoria came to light again this week when one of Jeff Kennett's personal friends avoided conviction for a series of serious assault-related charges.
The charges normally would have put any mere mortal in jail.
Here's why.
On February 26, 2000, Miles Simson, Andrew Denis, Andrew Hagen and Andrew Turner gate-crashed a party in suburban Ashburton. The group arrived in a car with illegally obscured number plates (but for some reason they weren't charged with this) to disrupt the party being held by Andrew Scott.
Simson (then 18) punched Scott and then gouged his eye and then launched a vicious attack on Scott's father as he tried to break the two men apart.
The blows to Scott's father took him out.
Yes, he was knocked unconscious.
Hagen (then 18) hit Mr. Scott's elder son Michael as he ran to the rescue of his now unconscious dad.
Denis (then 19) brandished a Swastika-adorned club, ready to attack anyone he deemed deserved a hit.
Turner (then aged 18) also joined the fracas.
The four men, all from the upper-crust Scotch College were properly charged with recklessly causing serious injury and unlawful assault.
The men fronted court in March 2001. Now under normal circumstances, the penalty for an assault that doesn't cause injury is at least a conviction and $2,000 fine, or quite commonly jail.
Refer to The Hoser Files for examples of these. Add the injury to the equation and jail becomes effectively mandatory. However these four rich kids had an ace card up their sleeve.
Denis produced a reference from former Victorian Premier Jeffrey Gibb Kennett.
And yes, it appeared that it was enough to sway magistrate Jillian Crowe to let the four thugs off with good behavior bonds (no convictions).
Mr Scott complained to the press about the unduly lenient treatment of these criminals by the magistrate, but his cries went on deaf ears.
In other words if thugs bash an old lady over the head and steal her money, they may get charged and convicted that is unless they are rich kids from Scotch College who happen to have Jeff Kennett for a mate. Then they'll just be let off with a "bond".
Makes you just want to walk the streets doesn't it?
Perhaps it isn't just Judge Kent who should be removed from the Victorian judiciary. Maybe Jillian Crowe should be given the boot as well.
Or perhaps a broom should be swept through the whole judiciary and we start from scratch.
For further information relating to the double standards of the Victorian judiciary and other case examples refer to the latter chapters of the book Victoria Police Corruption -2.
As most bookshops have been illegally pressured into not selling it by Victoria's Attorney General Rob Hulls, you will probably only be able to obtain the book by ordering it online at:
or from the people who publish this release.
For further information ring (in Australia):
(03) 98574491

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