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The village idiot

17 November, 2006
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Ms S.E. WALKER (Nedlands): That was why I was concerned about JPs. I endorse what other members have said about JPs; they do a great job. However, they do not have any regular or mandatory ongoing training.

Mr J.A. McGinty: But this legislation will require them to do the initial training course.

Ms S.E. WALKER: Yes, but they could do that training course and then not know anything about, for instance, the laws that the Attorney General introduced that relate to the Sentencing Act. […] Has anyone, in looking at this package, done any research into whether this could act unfairly on people in the community when they are sentenced? For instance, does the Attorney General have any statistics on how many people have been sentenced by justices of the peace in Western Australia, and for what and how long?

Mr J.A. McGINTY: I do not have those statistics with me. There is no change in terms of the eligibility criteria proposed in this Bill. One might make the same comments about members of Parliament. We could ask what is the requirement to be a member of Parliament. The only requirement is that a person be elected. That does not mean that that person has any knowledge, ability, skill or capacity. A person could be the village idiot and be a member of Parliament. Perhaps some are.

Ms S.E. Walker: Some are. I am looking to my left.

Subject: Justices of the Peace Bill 2003

Date: 1 April 2004

Hansard reference: pp. 1536c – 1558a [online (pdf)]

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