Courts.  How often do you go to them? Not enough? I bet.  So if you're not going to the mountain, I am bringing the mountain to you.  Read on:

Here are the facts:

Kyle Zandipour, a young ex bank clerk has been sentenced by Her Honour, The Honourable Justice Emerton of the Supreme Court of Victoria to at least 16 years jail for murdering a young man in a fast food restaurant.

Most people's experience of legal cases are through the media, unless you're a lawyer you probably don't go to court often, if at all.  So it's not surprising people think that judges are 'out of touch' or 'ivory tower dwellers' and not genuine and understanding members of the community.  This is compounded by the fact that the only time anyone actually hears a judge's voice is when she is selectively quoted in a tabloid newspaper.

You can understand the inherent problem of condensing a legal case that probably took weeks to decide by a judge and a jury and was argued by a small army of lawyers into a 300 word piece that needs to be informative enough to be factual but sensationalist enough to sell papers.

This is what The Age newspaper had to say about this case:

Justice Karin Emerton said Zandipour had no cause to attack Mr Hardy, and that his actions were completely unprovoked.

”I doubt you properly understand why you attacked Mr Hardy in the way you did. Your conduct was utterly senseless,” Justice Emerton told Zandipour.

”Your actions involved a moment of madness, six seconds of madness to be precise.”

Zandipour and friend Matthew Bell had been drinking and playing video games at the former’s St Kilda Road apartment before they went to McDonald’s and were eating outside when Mr Bell came in contact with Mr Hardy.
— The Age, 12 July 2016

A fair assessment and summary of the case? Sure, but by relying on one side alone you're missing the bigger picture.  Her Honour, Ms Justice Emerton would have had to consider mountains of evidence and then provide a reason as to why she has accepted it fully, in part or, not at all, while balancing fairness for the accused, the victim, the process and the public.  

Not an easy task but unless you have seen what goes on in court then you won't truly appreciate the different things a judge must consider when handing down a sentence as well as the amount of care that goes into considering all the evidence.

I really recommend you go to court to get a better understanding of the laws and systems that protect your rights, your interests, your property and your person.

Here is audio of Her Honour giving a detailed description of the facts, the law, how the law applies to the facts in question, how the victim's family was impacted, what things mitigate Mr Zandipour's final sentence and finally how she arrives at her decision.

Should you listen to the sentencing remarks of every single case in the newspaper and then some?  Unless you're like me, that's so wildly unrealistic.  However just know that the law and the justice system are there for you and the more you understand how they work, their benefits as well as their flaws then you'll have a better idea of how our society works or should work and therefore you can't be deceived or manipulated by a headline.

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