Magistrate Peter Smid
Magistrate Peter Smid

‘It has to stop’: Magistrate takes aim at lenient sentencing

A Townsville magistrate has criticised lenient sentencing, saying the community is sick of repeat offenders.

Experienced judicial officer Acting Magistrate Peter Smid told a defendant the courts had been too tolerant on him in the past as he sent him to jail yesterday over a string of petty crimes committed while he was released on a suspended sentence.



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Barkey Burt Barnes, 31, will spend the next two months behind bars after Mr Smid activated his suspended sentence in the Townsville Magistrates Court yesterday. Barnes pleaded guilty to charges including graffiti, wilful damage, obstructing police, and public nuisance.

"You act like a rat bag," Mr Smid said. "It has got to stop. You get a wholly suspended sentence, and what happens? You're still at it."

Barnes was sentenced to four months' jail and fined $350. He will be released on parole on December 1, 2020.

Mr Smid said he thought Barnes should have been sentenced to jail time, instead of a suspended sentence when he last faced court in August this year.

"People are frightened," he said. "You're nice and well behaved here but out on the street you're full of grog and you misbehave.

"You get warning after warning, you come to court and the court is too lenient with you.

"If the grog is getting to you, it is getting to you, but it is getting to the public too."

Originally published as 'It has to stop': Magistrate takes aim at lenient sentencing