Gladstone's new magistrate lays down the law on court orders
GLADSTONE'S new magistrate has made it clear where he stands when it comes to people disobeying court orders.
One of the first cases heard by magistrate Dennis Kinsella yesterday morning was a guilty plea from a 29-year-old man who twice breached a domestic violence order barring him from being in the vicinity of a young woman.
The court was told the breaches happened on two occasions when the man showed up at Gladstone Court House under the impression he was required as a witness in an unrelated matter.
Defence lawyer Jun Pepito said his client, who had never been to court before, was simply ignorant to the fact the order barred him from being in the vicinity of the woman even inside the court house.
But when Mr Pepito referred to the breaches as "technical breaches", Mr Kinsella jumped in to clarify a point.
"I'll pull you up on that," he said.
"No breach of a court order is a technical breach... it's a lesser example."
Mr Pepito agreed and clarified his client's breaches were at the lower end of the scale, suggesting Mr Kinsella impose a good behaviour bond on his client as a fair sentence.
But because the breach had happened twice, Mr Kinsella said he would instead be imposing a fine on the man.
Mr Kinsella said people subject to court orders - both beneficiaries and respondents - "need to know they are not meaningless".
He said while it was accepted this case was at the lower end of the scale, the "community generally needs to be aware of that".
"In future... if you run afoul of (the court order), do a 180 straight away and get out of there," he told the defendant.
Mr Kinsella said people who felt they needed to be somewhere that would put them in breach of a court order could apply to have that order varied.
He imposed a total fine of $500 for both offences.
No conviction was recorded given the man was a first-time offender.