'Airy fairy': magistrate's comments about restorative justice spark concerns in Queensland

Youth advocates say they are concerned Queensland courts are shunning effective diversionary programs – and don’t understand the benefits – after a magistrate said he thought restorative justice was “airy fairy”. The state’s Youth Justice Act requires courts to consider sending young offenders who plead guilty to a restorative justice process; effectively a conference with victims and other relevant parties. The children’s court has now overturned the decision of a magistrate who criticised restorative justice, then later in the same hearing asked: “But what is it?” The magistrate refused to consider the process when sentencing a young offender who was later described as “extraordinarily well suited” to it.
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