A judge in Australia’s Northern Territory has been accused of racism towards Indigenous defendants.
Court transcripts published in the Australian media show Judge Greg Borchers accusing an Aboriginal woman of abandoning her children while drunk in that “great indigenous fashion.”
He also said that “anthropologists” might one day discover why indigenous parents desert their children on such a regular basis.
In another transcript, Judge Borchers told an indigenous defendant who had “dragged” his partner “though the house by her hair” that he was “just like a primitive person.”
The comments are now the subject of an official complaint, and have been condemned by the Australian Law Society.
Its president is Arthur Moses.
“These comments are racist because they are disparaging, discriminatory and offensive, insulting and humiliating to Indigenous Australians based solely on their race,” he said.
It is not the first time Judge Borchers’s comments in court have landed him in trouble. Two years ago, there was a complaint after he told a young teenager that he was “takin
advantage” of his mother’s murder.
The judge told investigators that there was “no excuse” for some of his remarks, but he said a heavy workload dealing with cases involving violence and child abuse with “no days off” or counseling” had taken its toll.
Judge Borchers has yet to publicly comment on the latest allegations.
Indigenous Australians make up about three percent of Australia’s population, but they account for more than a quarter of prison inmates. They also suffer higher rates of poverty and ill-health, and die, on average, ten years before non-Aboriginal Australians.