19 November 2010

Justice should not be a snobby restaurant

A Sydney Muslim woman, was today found guilty of making a false complaint alleging racist behavior by a police officer who had pulled her over for a random breath test, and incorrectly displaying P plates.

She alleged the officer had tried to pull off her hijab, which concealed her entire face except for her eyes. Video footage however, showed the complaint to be false. She had also been verbally aggressive towards the officer, telling him, "You look at me and see me wearing this and you couldn't handle it. All cops are racist."

Rightly so, she was found guilty of making a false complaint. The woman deserved the conviction. She deserved legal censure.

However,my question is, why did this offence warrant a six month prison sentence?

If she had been a rugby league star or B grade actor found guilty of assaulting and glassing their partner, she would have received a good behavior bond and long segments on commercial TV news, saying what a nice person she is and how this would affect her career.

Justice should be even handed - not designed to suit the populist media and influential right wing radio hosts. Headlines such as, "Burqa Clad Mum Jailed" (Daily Telegraph) may make sensational copy, but begs the question, what in the eyes of the populist media, was her crime? Making a false claim or wearing a burqa?

Making a false complaint against a police officer should be taken seriously. It is a pity however, that magistrates who have given sports stars and minor celebrities good behavior bonds or community service orders for viciously assaulting their girl friends or partners, think that because of their media profile and perceived popularity, they deserve nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Justice is not a snobby restaurant where those in the public eye get fawned upon, and the rest of the diners scowled at.

The convicted woman has been released on bail pending an appeal against the conviction and the sentence

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