Court: Defendants Urged To Mind Their Manners

October 16, 2018

[Written by Don Burgess]

Defendants had to mind their manners in plea court as several were reprimanded by Senior Magistrate Juan Wolffe.

When one defendant didn’t mind his manners in trying to work out how to pay his $340 fine, Mr Wolffe reminded him about proper protocol.

The exchange went like this:

“Can I have some time?”


“Can I have some time?”


“Can I have some time to pay?”


“Can I have some time to pay, please, your honour?”

“No. You’re laughing. I’m serious, and you’re laughing. Basic manners. This is basic, do you understand?”


“Yes, who?”

“Yes, your honour.”

Mr Wolffe then showed him some leniency and gave the man until October 31 to pay his fine.

Another defendant was reprimanded three times in a four-minute period for putting his hands in his pockets while his case was being heard.

He told him to “Take your hands out of your pockets,” “Your hands are in your pockets again,” and “Why are your hands in your pockets again.”

One defendant interrupted Crown Counsel Nicole Smith stating “That’s a lie. That’s a lie”.

The Senior Magistrate looked at the man and said: “That happens once.” The man then interrupted Mr Wolffe, and the Senior Magistrate sternly said “That happens once. Be quiet now. Be quiet now.”

Mr Wolffe rebuked another defendant for not standing up while the charges were being laid against him.

One man who pleaded not guilty who replied “Yeah” to the Magistrate was told, “Don’t say ‘yeah’”.

Several people who said they either “hoped” or “would try” to pay their fines by a certain date were told to make a firm commitment as “hope” and “try” were not good enough.

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