LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS) has formally written to the NT Attorney-General requesting she consider assessing Judge Greg Borchers’ suitability to remain on Youth Court following his inappropriate comments to a traumatised 13-year-old offender.
CAALAS has also lodged a complaint with the Chief Judge of the NT Local Court about Judge Borchers’ remarks
in Court on June 6.
Judge Borchers told the youngster when remanding him in Tennant Creek Youth Court that he had taken advantage of his mother’s murder to damage property and play truant from school.
In a string of grossly insensitive comments, Judge Borchers paid scant attention to evidence that the youngster’s behaviour had spiralled downward since his mother’s death in January, allegedly at the hands of his father.
Justice must always present a fair and compassionate face, even more so as the deep flaws in the judicial approach to young offenders in the NT are under such intense scrutiny.
Sadly, in this instance Judge Borchers has ignored this basic principle. This young man needs support, compassion, counselling and society’s help, not belittling.
Evidence presented to the court showed that the youth’s attendance at school dropped from 79% to 26% after his mother’s murder. He was in “low mood”, suffered social anxiety and was influenced by older youths, the court was told.
His advocate pleaded to the court that the best way forward for the 13-year-old was psychiatric care, home remand and focus on education and training.
We are asking for the government to give our concerns about this matter speedy consideration.
Eileen Van lersel (pictured above)
CEO of CAALAS