Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sydney Judge Let The Muslim Rioter Walk All Over Her

Muslim thug Mohammed Issaka during 2012 Sydney riots.
HE allegedly had no problem standing up to police during last year's Muslim riots - but Mohammed Issai Issaka just couldn't bring himself to stand and show respect to a Sydney magistrate yesterday.

Appearing at the Downing Centre Local Court on charges of rioting and assaulting police, Issaka's case was held up for 30 minutes after he refused to rise to his feet on the grounds of his "religious beliefs" when magistrate Jacqueline Milledge entered the courtroom.

Despite berating the 44-year-old for his "disrespect", Ms Milledge then went out of her way to placate him - working out a compromise so he could stay in the court. Ms Milledge adjourned the proceedings for a short time, allowing Issaka to leave the room, before she reconvened the court. Once she was seated, Issaka returned to the room - technically standing - as he walked to his seat.

Issaka's hearing had earlier ground to a halt before it began when Ms Milledge repeatedly demanded he stand up.

"You can tell me where it is in his religion that it says he cannot stand," she told Issaka's lawyer Stephen Hopper. "I was a magistrate at Bankstown Court for four years and I have never had to deal with such disrespect."

Issaka also refused to bow when entering or leaving the room - another court convention. The case was adjourned while the magistrate spoke with the prosecution and defence in private after a heated exchange.

Mohammed Issaka at the Downing Center.
Issaka was eventually allowed to stay outside the court as everyone else stood -- walking in after Ms Milledge was already in her seat.

Attorney-General Greg Smith said yesterday the public expected everyone to follow the tradition of standing in court when a magistrate entered. "It is a sign of respect to the institution of the court, not any individual officer," he said.

But Mr Smith said it was up to each magistrate or judge to decide how they would run their courtroom and deal with any "issues" that arose there.

A person can be charged with "contempt in the face of court" if they do anything to undermine the authority or dignity of the proceedings. A spokeswoman for federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said: "All Australians should respect the workings and laws of Australian courts."

Mr Hopper said his client respected the law and his refusal to stand for the magistrate had nothing to do with her gender: "I respect that (he) has beliefs and that he stuck by his beliefs, that's a matter for him."

Muslim community leader Keysar Trad said Issaka's behaviour in court was typical of a "rigid interpretation" of Islam, which included a "firm belief you don't stand for anyone". "You wouldn't even stand for the Prophet (Mohammed) if he were to walk in," he said.

The court yesterday heard Issaka was "hissing" at police dogs and did a "running jump-kick" into several officers' shields during the protests. Sergeant Catherine Sadler said she heard him yell abuse at her during the violent clashes, telling her: "You're not a lady, you're fucking filth."

Issaka has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied swearing at Sgt Sadler or being violent and aggressive towards any officers. He claimed one constable repeatedly punched him and he was left with a gash to his head, a fractured jaw and a chipped tooth after the protests.

His refusal to stand follows fellow protester Mahmoud Eid remaining on his feet throughout his sentencing before Deputy Chief Magistrate Jane Culver less than two weeks ago.

She was told Eid had beliefs he "holds very dear to him" and he did not want to sit then be forced to stand to hear his punishment as he would "only stand before God". Ms Culver allowed him to stand through the proceeding before sending him to jail for more than four years.

Issaka's hearing was adjourned to September, when he will once again appear before Ms Milledge. The magistrate has already dealt with one man charged over the Muslim riots.

Earlier this month she dismissed charges of assault and resisting arrest against the 39-year-old after finding there were inconsistencies in police accounts of what had happened that day.