Magistrates’ Court Case

In the early stages of learning about court reporting and media law, we were given a scripted scenario, in which the class played out characters from a court hearing at the Magistrates’ Court. The crime – Ms Miller, a housewife, stole grocery store items at a Greener’s Supermarket. Her court hearing included testimonies by Ms Miller herself, a store detective and a constable. Ms Miller’s defence for not paying for the items was that she suffered from flash migraines, which affected her vision.

By highlighting all the important and newsworthy information from the scenario, I was able to form an article response to the hearing and write something of interest for the public.


200-Word Hard News Story:

Housewife steals groceries worth $400 fine

A Lonsdale East housewife has paid the price for stealing $7.95 worth of grocery goods from Greener’s Supermarket with a $400 fine issued by the Lonsdale Magistrates’ Court.

Danielle Miller was given the hefty fine for stealing a packet of bacon rashers and a block of tasty cheese.

“I must impose a heavy penalty to protect the public, as I find it unacceptable that members of the public have to pay increased prices on goods to cover the costs of thoughtless individuals,” said Magistrate John Lawson.

Ms Miller claimed that her alleged shoplifting was due to severe migraines, which affects her vision.

“The only explanation I can give is that I suffer from flash migraines. I had no intention of stealing the goods,” said Ms Miller.

A store detective, Jamil Rao, observed Ms Miller’s shoplifting, placing the articles into her handbag, rather than a shopping bag.

“She proceeded to the checkout, making no attempt to pay for the articles in her handbag,” said Mr Rao.

Mr Rao took Ms Miller aside and inspected her handbag, discovering the Greener’s Supermarket items with no receipt.

When the police were notified, Ms Miller said she had no idea how the goods came to be in her handbag and denied the allegation.

Ms Miller, during her defence at the Magistrate’s court, said asshe did not feel it was “necessary to mention” the migraines at the time to the police and Mr Rao.

Police Sergeant Constable Smythe said that Ms Miller’s migraine claim was not plausible, as she was a former typist for the Victorian Police and would have dealt with excuses to crimes.

Based on these accounts, Magistrate John Lawson, said that he did not accept her version of events, as Ms Miller had a “motive for lying” and imposed the fine.


Image via VCE Legal Studies “Danielle come to judgment Teacher notes”


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