Judge rebukes parole service
A DISTRICT court judge has rebuked the State Probation and Parole Service, warning it to follow orders made by local courts or face the consequences.
District Court Judge Andrew Colefax, sitting in Bathurst, ordered the officer-in-charge of Probation and Parole to front the court after it was revealed pre-sentence reports ordered in the local court had not been completed, regional media report.
The court was told it was Probation and Parole’s policy not to prepare pre-sentence reports ordered in a local court for a district court matter.
Cluster manager for the NSW Probation and Parole Service, Michael Marshall, appeared before Bathurst District Court in relation to the matter.
Judge Colefax reportedly told Mr Marshall he had ordered someone of his status to appear before the district court after the matter was raised.
“When I called through the list I was told by Rayna Pettit the Probation and Parole Service had declined to carry out an order of the local court that a pre-sentence report be prepared for this court,” Judge Colefax is quoted telling Mr Marshall.
“I was also told by two other senior solicitors this situation was not unique; Ms Haywood told me she understood it to be a state-wide practice.”
Judge Colefax said he was “disturbed such a policy was in place” and he needed Mr Marshall’s assurance the issue would be addressed, or he would take steps to rectify it.
“It is not acceptable, Mr Marshall, for an order of any court to be ignored,” Judge Colefax is quoted.
“And it’s ironic that the Probation and Parole Service, which is responsible for ensuring offenders conform with court orders, should itself be in breach of them.”
Judge Colefax asked Mr Marshall if he was in a position to assure him that the policy was no longer in place throughout NSW.
Mr Marshall said it was never the Probation and Parole’s intention to refuse an order of the court, and said it was more a practice, not a policy of the service.
“Mr Marshall, whatever the practice is the local court made an order which has not been obeyed,” Judge Colefax said.
Mr Marshall said the matter was being reviewed by the department, and assured the court it will not happen again, according to reports.