- Melbourne Magistrates' Court
The Melbourne Magistrates' Court is a venue of the Magistrates' Court of Victoria. It is a court in Melbourne, Australia that deals with a range of criminal offences, money claims and disputes up to $100,000 and family violence and family law proceedings. It is the largest venue of the Magistrates' Court of Victoria.
Though the current court inception is established by the Magistrates' Court Act 1989 (Parliament of Victoria). There has been a magistrate in Victoria essentially since 1836, when the people of Melbourne elected an Arbitrator of the city to resolve minor disputes.
A Police Magistrate, Captain Lonsdale was appointed also in 1836 and the first case was heard at a location near the present site of Southern Cross (Spencer Street) Station.
In 1838 a third court, the Court of Petty Sessions was created. And all three types of Courts by 1890 were held at 235 locations throughout Victoria.
On 20 January 1914, the new City Court at Russell St. was opened in Melbourne, and Phillip Blashki, J.P. was the first Chairman of the City Court Bench. The Prime Minister Alfred Deakin presented Blashki with an illuminated address signed by 30 of the court's solicitors when he retired, aged 70.
Police Magistrates were able to sit in on Petty Court sessions, but generally two or three Justices of the Peace were required for cases to be heard. The Court of Petty Sessions, also originally attended to matters under 20 pounds, and even criminal matters, like drunkenness and minor assaults.
On the 29 May 2000, a Deed of Apology was signed for the treatment of Aboriginal peoples, which tied in with National Sorry Day actions, by the Chief Magistrate and Principal Registrar on behalf of the Magistrates' Court of Victoria. The Deed was received at the Wangaratta courthouse, by Wally Cooper. Walking Together website
In 2000 the Chief Magistrate of the Court Mr Michael Adams was forced to stand down on the 31st October 2000, after claims that he harassed female members of his court. This was reported on The 7:30 report and was also reported in the Melbourne newspapers, causing the extraordinary vote.
Court Buildings Lonsdale and LaTrobe Streets
On January 20, 1914 three courts were opened on the corners of LaTrobe and Lonsdale streets: The City Court, The District Court and a third Emergency Court. A feature of the District Court is a wooden canopy over the seat upon which the Magistrate sits. This canopy was taken from old Supreme Court which had originally been located at the site.
- Melbourne Magistrates' Court official website
- Virtual tour of the Melbourne Magistrates' Court
- Article in the Age on Poor Box
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