Anne-Marie Were, mother of Tashara Lee-Anne Were, was angered
at magistrate Michael Frederick's comments about her daughter.
An Adelaide magistrate who told a young Aboriginal prostitute
she was a crack-smoking junkie destined to die in the gutter and "no
one gives a shit", did not know she was in a methadone program,
her mother said yesterday.
Anne-Marie Were, mother of Tashara Lee-Anne
Were, joined the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission
yesterday in calling for magistrate Michael Frederick to be stood
Ms Were, 47, who appeared in the Port Adelaide Magistrates
Court in January when Mr Frederick unleashed his diatribe against
Tashara Were, said her daughter was possibly schizophrenic and
had been taking heroin since she was 13.
But she said Tashara was
trying to overcome her addiction.
"She is still on her methadone and she was on it when he
called her a junkie," Ms Were said. "He didn't even stop
to find out whether she
had tried to better herself or whether she was receiving treatment."
Mr Frederick told Tashara: "You're a druggie and you'll die
in the gutter. That's your choice. Stand up in the dock... and
behave like an adult. I don't believe that social worker crap.
"You abuse your mother and cause her pain. You can choose
to be who you are. You can go to work. Seven million of us do it
whilst 14 million like you sit at home watching Days of our Lives,
smoking your crack pipe and using needles and I'm sick of you sucking
"...We dicks pay for your life. It's your choice to be a
junkie and die in the gutter. No one gives a shit, but you're going
to kill that woman who is your mother, damn you to death."
Frederick had sympathised with Ms Were, who has cerebral palsy
and other health problems, in his bizarre sentencing outburst that
was noted by a lawyer and made public when Supreme Court Justice
John Perry criticised Mr Frederick in his appeal judgment.
said yesterday Tashara had not got over it and considered suicide
because she felt so hopeless.
She said Mr Frederick's remarks made
Tashara, who she said was a troubled girl but very loving, feel
more worthless because she could not understand why the magistrate
hated her so much.
"She said, 'Well, if that's what he thinks of me, Mum, it
might be better if I just go out and OD (overdose)'," Ms Were
Mr Frederick sentenced Tashara to a suspended six-week jail
term after she breached bail conditions associated with an earlier
conviction for soliciting in a public place for the purposes of
But the sentence was overturned on appeal last month.
who has a history of outbursts but is also admired for his work
in domestic violence, was called in yesterday to answer to Adelaide
Chief Magistrate Alan Moss and Chief Justice John Doyle.
meeting Mr Frederick said he regretted making such intemperate
remarks. Chief Justice Doyle said the public rebuke already received
was sufficient punishment.
South Australian Attorney-General Michael
Atkinson said filthy language in court was inexcusable and the
remarks corroded public confidence in the courts, but Mr Frederick
would keep his job. "It is not, by itself, a hanging offence," he
Offenders Aid and Rehabilitation Services chief executive
officer Leigh Garrett said: "To suggest that we need to be
using personally denigrating language to try to change the personal
behaviour... just beggars belief."
The racial context of the
attack continued to cause concern. "You have no right to speak
to any young person like that in any way or form," Ms Were
Tauto Sansbury, ATSIC's Patpa Warra Yunti Regional Council
chairman, who has worked in the SA justice system for two decades,
said Mr Frederick should be suspended.
By Penelope Debelle, Adelaide