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Magistrate keeps job

Magistrate keeps job

Jennifer Betts will retain her status as a magistrate in NSW.Last night (16 June) MPs from the NSW Legislative Council voted not to dismiss the 17-year magistrate after four complaints made…

Jennifer Betts will retain her status as a magistrate in NSW.

Last night (16 June) MPs from the NSW Legislative Council voted not to dismiss the 17-year magistrate after four complaints made against her, concerning a period between 2003 and 2009, were upheld by the NSW Judicial Commission.

Government MP and NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher moved a motion without notice to address the question of whether the embattled magistrate should be dismissed.

After a debate featuring speakers from both government and non-government MPs, the NSW Upper House voted overwhelmingly to allow Betts to stay on the bench.

"In her 17 years on the bench, she has dealt with around 50,000 matters," Labor MP Luke Foley told the house, according to the ABC.

"There are four complaints that the Conduct Division addressed in its report. I don't want to sound trite, but I would suggest that all of us as members of Parliament would be complained about far more than four in 50,000 occasions."

On Wednesday, Betts became only the second magistrate to be asked to address the Parliament of NSW to show cause as to why she shouldn't be sacked.

She told the Legislative Council that her behaviour with regard to the two most recent complaints could be explained by her decision to stop taking medication for depression.

Next week, magistrate Brian Maloney, who has bipolar disorder, will also address Parliament in a similar manner to Betts, to explain why he should not be sacked.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Magistrate keeps job
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