Disrespect to magistrate demands a stiff penalty

EDITORIAL: There is a great deal of truth to the old expression "when in Rome, do as the Romans do".

When I travelled to Israel last year, I knew there would be certain places I wouldn't gain entry into if my dress wasn't modest enough, so I dressed appropriately.

I knew that taking photos of certain buildings and areas would get me into trouble for national security reasons, so I kept my camera in my bag on those occasions.

I did those things because I had respect for the laws of the land I was visiting and realised I had no right to expect Israel to conform to the rules and laws I expect as an Australian.

I wish some of the people who choose to live in this country had similar views.

On Wednesday an accused Muslim rioter, Mohammed Issai Issaka, refused to stand for a magistrate in Sydney - he claimed his strict reading of his religion meant that he would only stand for God.

Well, in this country we stand for magistrates - I stand for them each time I report on a matter at court, because that is what is expected.

The magistrate, Jacqueline Milledge, reached a compromise with the defendant, ordering him to wait outside the court while she took her seat.

What she should have done is take a stand against this kind of attitude by placing him in contempt of court.

It is not too much to expect people to conform to the laws and regulations of this country, regardless of what their religious beliefs are.



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