Harrison's 'boofhead' judgment goes viral
HE is the Cairns judge with a quick wit who is gaining celebrity status in the legal community for his scathing remarks to the criminals unlucky enough to stand before him.
Judge Brian Harrison's star was on the rise yesterday after legal eagles across Queensland began circulating a transcript of an Innisfail sentencing during which he called a serial offender a "grub", a "clown", a "goose", an "idiot' and a "boofhead".
It is labelled: "How to impose a sentence properly by Harrison DJC," and it has Far Northern lawyers chuckling, as they say the comments in the transcript are par for the course for the judge, who has a fondness for colloquialisms.
"Clients are never left wondering what this judge thinks of them," one Cairns defence lawyer said.
During the Innisfail sentencing, on November 27 last year, Judge Harrison pointed out the 31-year-old had been shown leniency by another judge before going on a "rampage" which included stealing and assaulting police.
"I think you heard me refer to you before as a clown or an idiot," Judge Harrison said.
"Well you are.
"Time and time again we hear how people are dissatisfied about the sentences that the courts impose and how the push is on for tougher and tougher sentences.
"And it's because of grubs like you and I use that word advisedly grubs like you, that we're hearing that."
But it's not the first time Judge Harrison has resorted to more common language to give a defendant a tongue-lashing.
In December, 2010, he told a man who spat on a police officer and paramedic just what he thought of the act.
"What you did to them was despicable; it was low, it was gutless, it was brainless," he said.
"If you've got any brains, you'd be ashamed of that. If you're proud of it, there's no hope for you."
In November of the same year, he told two more people who had assaulted police officers they were "animals".
"Witnesses to the attack said you were behaving like a pair of animals. I think this is a very fair description of the pair of you," he said.
Judge Harrison called an armed robber a "rank amateur" last year.
"You confronted someone in there who recognised you, that's how stupid you are," he said.
Judge Harrison also made headlines in 2011 when his colourful tirade about red tape, during which he compared lawyers before his court to characters from a Spike Milligan book, went viral.
Cairns defence solicitor Bernie Carmen said he and many of his colleagues were on board with Judge Harrison's approach.
"I'd agree with his manner of speaking because you can't speak to people in legalese, it goes over their head. You have to speak to them in a language they understand," he said.
Judge Harrison declined an interview with The Cairns Post.
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Colourful remarks: Cairns Judge Brian Harrison is renowned for his quick wit in court.