Summary: Drama has unfolded in these courtrooms for more than 130 years, from serial murderers and gangland wars to multimillion-dollar commercial disputes and celebrity defamation cases. Take a step behind the bench of one of Australia’s oldest institutions and hear from judges as they explain why they make the decisions they do. Gertie's Law takes a deep dive into some of the lesser-known, misunderstood or complex parts of the court’s work, such as sentencing, mental health, juries and the criminal trial process. Revisit historic cases, meet the many people who work here, from judges to Corrections staff, and take a close look at how a modern justice system operates in a 19th century building. Authorised by the Supreme Court of Victoria, 210 William St, Melbourne
We've received your questions. From capital punishment and gender in the law to speeding fines and staying awake in court, we put your questions to judges.
Almost every day, randomly selected Victorians, often with no experience in or knowledge of the law, sit in court passing judgement on their fellow citizens. Learn how the jury system works and the challenges jurors face, such as staying off social media, leaving their sympathies at home and getting their heads around complex forensic evidence.
At first glance, the trial division building of the Supreme Court is imposing. Narrow corridors, very high ceilings with grand chandeliers and ornate plasterwork. Nineteenth century stonework and cedar panelling. And then there’s the artwork - mostly portraits of stern looking men in big leather chairs looking down from under their wigs. The effect of the original building is to communicate the authority - even fear - of the law. But things have changed a lot in that last few decades, and as the system changes, so too does the art and the architecture. Gradually, this 19th century heritage building is looking and feeling more like it belongs to a 21st century justice system.
Hundreds of people work at the Supreme Court every day, and the majority aren't judges. Meet with a variety of people who call the court their workplace, from prison officers and 'tippies' to journalists and librarians.
It’s a sad fact that most of the people accused of serious criminal offences in the Supreme Court are either suffering from a mental illness, taking illicit drugs, or both. “It’s one of the most difficult things a sentencing judge will need to balance.” Hear from judges and find out how they deal with the more controversial aspects of sentencing: mental illness, drugs and parole.
Sentencing - it's the most talked about and misunderstood aspect of the court's work. How does a judge go about deciding a length of time in jail? There’s a lot to consider and coming up with the final number is the end of a lengthy and complicated process.
Thousands pass it every day and it’s in the news most nights. Many criminals who’ve appeared here are household names. But how well do you really know this court?
Introducing Gertie’s Law, a podcast from the Supreme Court of Victoria.