Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council chair appointed magistrate

Media release

4 May 2017

Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council chair James Morton has been appointed to the Mount Isa Magistrates Court.

The appointment will take effect from Monday 8 May 2017.

Mr Morton, a defence barrister practising in regional and remote areas of Queensland and a lecturer in law at QUT, has been council chair since it was established on 10 November 2016.

“I was keen to get involved with the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council to highlight the issues that relate to sentencing in the state, especially looking at the issues that are affecting Indigenous offenders,” said Mr Morton.

“My vision for the council has been to make the link between communities and the justice system to inform the community so the public gets a better understanding of the whole sentencing process,” added Mr Morton. “The public generally just sees a person found guilty and then the sentence they get. But there is so much more to it.”

Under Mr Morton’s leadership, the council has commenced several initiatives to enhance public knowledge and understanding of sentencing matters and to bridge the gap between the courts and the community on sentencing issues.

These include:

  • conducting a review of the classification of child exploitation material (CEM) for sentencing purposes, as requested by the Attorney-General (the council’s report is due on 31 May 2017)
  • launching the Sentencing Spotlight series that provides statistical information about sentencing outcomes for offences finalised in Queensland courts
  • launching the Sentencing Matters podcast series exploring different aspects of the sentencing process
  • establishing the National Sentencing Network for thought leaders in the criminal justice sector
  • commencing the Sentencing Seminar Series providing attendees the opportunity to learn about the sentencing process in Queensland, nationally and internationally
  • launching the council’s website and Twitter account.

Mr Morton and his council colleagues were selected for appointment to the council by the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills Yvette D’Ath.

Under the legislation, Mr Morton is required to give 30 days’ written notice of his intention to resign from the council, which he will do to ensure he can be an effective and impartial Magistrate.