Chief Judge Peter Kidd

County Court of Victoria

As the chief judge of the court and also along with my judges, we see that it's absolutely essential that we engage with the community about the work that we do.

One way is to randomly select leaders from all sectors of the community; faith-based, rotary, neighbourhood watch; all sorts of sections of the community to directly interact with not only the court, but the judges. That fundamentally was the purpose of the first community engagement day.

Michal Morris

InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence

I wanted to get a better understanding of the courts and the court system because I think that'll help me better understand what happens to a lot of the women that we support.

John Kuot

Parkville College, Police Taskforce Executive

I thought it was an opportunity as a community member and also as a professional to learn from the judges directly themselves and I think to also learn from other community members who are here today with us.

Chief Judge Peter Kidd

The object of the day was to engage in a lot of activities. So those activities included a speaker who came in and explained to the participants the basic principles of sentencing. We also had activities where the participants would sit with various judges - a number of my judges from the court - and where they had the opportunity to ask those judges direct questions.

They engaged in a mock or a moot plea hearing Where they went into court and they had the opportunity to stand in the shoes of somebody who was participant in a sentencing hearing.

Manny Kidanu

Peer Advocacy Team, City of Yarra

I would say the whole day was very interesting but the most interesting thing would be putting yourself into the shoes of the judge and becoming a judge. And hearing a complicated case. It's not as easy as you'd think from our side.

Chief Judge Peter Kidd

A number of questions were asked of me - challenging questions - about the way sentencing law works and indeed about how the law works. A recent immigrant group into Victoria told me about the fact that his community felt disengaged. They don't see the courts, for example as being there for them and of course we are.

We're there to dispense justice and to assist in protecting all Victorians from crime. Each of the leaders was chosen upon the basis that they would then take what they've learnt from us into their own community groups. In consultation with Victoria University they've been provided with education packs so it's our hope that they'll have some capacity to take that back to their own constituents if you like.

Grant Hocking

Rotary District Governor Elect

Days like these are very important in that it allows people to gain a better understanding of the proceedings of the County Court and how and why decisions are made. The friendliness and the realism of the judges you know they are real people, they're not somebody who sits in an ivory tower. All of them are just like everybody else in the community so I think it's brought everybody back down to earth to the realisation that we should all be in this together and understand the process a lot better and that's what today has given us.

Bikramjit Singh

Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria

It is a very fantastic thing that this Chief Judge is doing to bring in inclusiveness from the community perspective to learn both ways. It's not just imposing his ideas upon us it's about him also understanding what we can contribute back to make the system. It's a concept about 'One Australia' that he's promoting, which is fantastic.

Chief Judge Peter Kidd

The community engagement day is just another example of the way in which we can have contact with leaders of our community. If they are properly informed I have no doubt they'll understand and largely support what we're doing.