The Governor, acting pursuant to s 10(1) of the Magistrates Act 1985 (SA), and on my advice, has suspended Magistrate Simon Milazzo. I am authorised by the Judicial Conduct Commissioner to disclose that a Judicial Conduct Panel (the Panel) has been established to enquire into complaints of misconduct made against Mr Milazzo pursuant to s 21 of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner Act 2015 (SA). Mr Milazzo’s suspension will continue until the conclusion of the Panel’s inquiry and thereafter will depend on the recommendation it makes.
I advised the Governor to suspend Mr Milazzo because of the establishment of the panel and because of the obligation of the Courts Administration Authority (the CAA) to provide, and to be seen to provide, a safe and supportive workplace for all of its employees.
I emphasise that the complaints are still to be investigated by the Panel. Nonetheless, it was necessary for me to balance the possible risks to, and apprehensions of, CAA employees against the right of Mr Milazzo to discharge the duties of his office. In my opinion, in the circumstances of this case, the former consideration outweighed the latter.
Mr Milazzo will continue to receive his remuneration. I do not have all of the information which will be before the Panel. Nor do I have Mr Milazzo’s response to it. I am, therefore, not in a position to assess the strength of the evidence. Nor am I in a position to assess the prospect that the Panel will recommend Mr Milazzo’s removal from office. That must await the conclusion of the Panel’s inquiry. Accordingly, there was no reasonable basis on which I could determine that the ordinary entitlement to remuneration conferred by s 10(4) of the Magistrates Act 1985 (SA) should be displaced.
The Honourable Chris Kourakis
Chief Justice of South Australia
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