The Chairman — Russell Sarah — introduced Magistrate Michael Coghlan; one of three magistrates serving the Magistrates Court of Geelong. He has served this role for fourteen years. Russell says he is the guest is gifted with clear thinking and wisdom in his role at the Court.
There is a tendency for the media to complain about sentences as too light whenever convictions are reported.
The sentences handed down by magistrates are determined by the maximum sentences proscribed by the Sentencing Act, the Governing Principles and Sentencing Guidelines reviewed regularly by the Government and the expectations of the Prosecution and Defence representatives in the Court.
In Victoria there is an IMMEDIATE Right of Appeal which if exercised by the Defence often leads to defendants being released on bail.
Sometimes certain convictions are subject to Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Many trials are held up or postponed due to the delays with forensic reports relevant to the trial although some issues such as sexual and domestic violence have priority at the back-office stage (including forensics) which leads to further postponement of other crimes in reaching the Court.
His Honour Mr Coghlan generously answered questions from the Rotary members.
His Honour’s presence and instructive speech was thanked by Pres. Daryll.