Judge who spent 17 HOURS reading aloud 138-page judgment involving spooked horse slammed by appeal court

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By Thomas Connelly on

There was ‘no explanation’ as to why it took so long

Enough to send any lawyer to sleep

An Australian judge has been criticised after he spent 17 hours reading aloud his own 138-page judgment in a case involving a spooked horse.

Following a six-day negligence case back in May 2016, district court judge Garry Neilson — who appears to have far too much time on his hands — decided to read out his extraordinarily long judgment word for word.

Neilson (pictured below), having spent almost four days crunching through his lengthy decision, eventually awarded a man almost AUS$340,000 (£200,000) in compensation when he was thrown from a horse which bucked after a car drove past.

Now, almost one year on, New South Wales’ Court of Appeal has overturned Neilson’s decision and slammed him for choosing to read it aloud. In a much shorter ruling delivered earlier this week, Justice Ruth McColl said:

There is no explanation in either the transcript of the hearing, or the primary judge’s reasons, as to why his honour delivered a judgment of such length while sitting in court, rather than, as is customary with a judgment of such length, handing down written reasons.

McColl went on to state that Neilson’s actions had taken up valuable “court resources” and created a significant “costs burden” on the parties involved.

But, the court said, this doesn’t appear to be an isolated case. Neilson — who was referred to Australia’s Judicial Commission in 2014 after suggesting people may no longer see incest as “unnatural” or “taboo” — has delivered oral judgments over three or four days on at least three separate occasions.

Read the judgment (the much shorter one) in full below:

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