Do­ing Down­ing Cen­tre jus­tice

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television - Court Jus­tice,

In this in­trigu­ing new se­ries, which puts cam­eras in Syd­ney’s Down­ing Cen­tre court­rooms for the first time, you get the sense the var­i­ous de­fen­dants aren’t the ones who feel like they’re on trial.

“The Down­ing Cen­tre is the real world,” says Deputy Chief Mag­is­trate Chris O’Brien. “What hap­pens here is a snap­shot of what is hap­pen­ing in the broader com­mu­nity. (Ju­di­cial of­fi­cers have) more grasp of what the real world is than those that crit­i­cise them for not be­ing in it.”

If you sus­pect the robed of­fi­cers of the court are sen­si­tive about this is­sue and are ac­tu­ally grate­ful for the chance to be ob­served work­ing up close, I think you’d be right.

In this open­ing episode, we meet boxer Garth Wood, who you may re­call de­feated An­thony Mun­dine by knock­out in 2010. Here he is fac­ing charges re­lated to a street brawl where he says he was de­fend­ing a friend and him­self. Court Jus­tice

For non-lawyers, the rules of the court­room seem like an al­ter­na­tive uni­verse. For ex­am­ple, the mag­is­trate has to urge Wood re­peat­edly to sup­press his man­ners and re­veal what his as­sailant called him — a se­ries of un­print­able ex­ple­tives — but is stopped in his tracks when he in­ad­ver­tently calls her hon­our “darl”.

A women is on trial for breach­ing an ap­pre­hended vi­o­lence or­der taken out by her neigh­bour in a pub­lic hous­ing es­tate. He has a record­ing that pur­ports to re­veal her threat­en­ing him. They seem to have her dead to rights, but is all as it seems?

It also must be said that the Down­ing Cen­tre build­ing — orig­i­nally a Mark Foy’s de­part­ment store built in 1908 — is made for TV, even if the ac­cused are too pre­oc­cu­pied to ap­pre­ci­ate the ar­chi­tec­ture. Sun­day, 7.30pm, CI.

Syd­ney’s Down­ing Cen­tre court­house com­plex is the real-life set­ting for

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