Lighter side: Why you shouldn’t insult a judge on Facebook

by NZ Lawyer22 Apr 2016
Transcripts emerged this week of New Zealand court sentencing for $6,000 in unpaid traffic fines.

Unfortunately for the Troy La Rue, who had racked up the unpaid fines, he had previously insulted Judge Allan Roberts on Facebook, which isn’t punishable but did prove rather inconvenient, Stuff reported.

The sentencing happened back in January but the transcript just released shows the since-retired judge’s annoyance with the defendant.

It began very straightforward:

The Court: “Mr La Rue you have been summonsed to court to deal with these outstanding fines, you know that, don't you.”

Defendant: “Ah, yes sir.”

The Court: “Fines outstanding $6244. I'm going to send you to do community work.  Do you want to say anything?”

Defendant: “Happy with that.”

Then, Roberts asked the court registrar to pull up the post.

“Yeah, I was very intoxicated,” LaRue said before he was interrupted by Roberts.

“Read it out loud,” Roberts said.

Defendant: "Says, 'F*** off".

The Court: "Read it out word for word. Your post please."

Defendant: "The bottom one?"

The Court: "Go point it to him, Mr Registrar please?"

Defendant: "This one."

The Court: "Yes."

Defendant: "LOL I hope the ******* gone by Friday. Ha ha. f*****, nah f***** c*** whose old face and saggy chin. F*** off".

The Court: "Who were you talking about?"

Defendant: "Well I'm talking to [a] mate aren't I?

The Court: "No, no. Who are you talking about?"

Defendant: "Well, I'm guessing in respect to this post."

The Court: "Who are you talking about when you talk about, "The f****** old c*** with the saggy old chin".

Defendant: "Well, I guess I'm talking to you, sir."

The Court: "Thank you."

Defendant: "And I, I don't really know what to say about that but I do apologise."

The Court: "No, no you don't have to say anything, that's what I thought."

Defendant: "Yep."

The Court: "For your own benefit, Mr La Rue, I don't read that drivel. That was drawn to my attention by my registrar. You're a brave soul though, aren't you?"

Defendant: "Well, all I can say is you got me on that one."

The Court: "I got you cold mate."

The Defendant: "You did and I apologise for that."

The Court: "Now you're hardly a picture yourself are you?"

Defendant: "Oh, no.

The Court: "No. You don't work do you?"

Defendant: "No I don't."

The Court: "Right. You're otherwise indolent aren't you? Bone idle. Get it back off him. One: Outstanding fines $6244 remitted. Two: Substitution 300 hours' community work. Work off your laughter in the cells while we get the order typed."

Defendant: "Um –"

The Court: "In the cells."

Defendant: "I do apologise for that."

The Court: "Damage done Mr La Rue. Don't give a toss."

Prominent Taranaki defence solicitor Paul Keegan told Stuff that while Facebook comments are outside the court and present no contempt issues, it is becoming a growing source of court evidence.

“People put their lives on Facebook and included in that there is sometimes material that police will find relevant in a prosecution,” Keegan said, adding that people need to take care when publishing online.
 

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