COURT: Prosecutor told by magistrate to take phone from person in gallery after it rang in court.
COURT: Prosecutor told by magistrate to take phone from person in gallery after it rang in court. Contributed

Magistrate's harsh lesson after man's phone rings in court

THE measures a magistrate took after a person's phone rang in court has served as a timely reminder for all to turn their electronics off before entering a courtroom.

On Friday, Magistrate Belinda Merrin was deliberating on a matter before the court when she was interrupted by the ringing of a mobile phone.

The loud tune pierced the previously-silent room, with the vast majority of the court's occupants turning to stare at the person responsible.

The member of the gallery whose phone it was jumped to his feet and ran out the room and Ms Merrin continued with the proceedings.

A short time later, however, the man re-entered the courtroom.

As he sat back down, Ms Merrin stopped the proceedings and asked him whether his phone was off.

After telling her it was, Ms Merrin asked him to show the police prosecutor his phone to confirm it was powered down.

During the hand-off, the man quietly told Senior Constable Tina Bland all she had to do to switch off the device was "hold down this button".

Noticing this, Ms Merrin asked whether the phone had actually been turned off despite the man telling her otherwise.

He responded that it wasn't off yet, but would be straight away.

Ms Merrin instructed Sen Const Bland to take the phone away and return it once the man's matter had been before the court.

The device was hastily switched off and placed beside the prosecutor's belongings on the bar table.

According to the Queensland Courts website, people should have their phones turned off in the courtroom.

According to the Queensland Courts website, "When you go to court, you should show respect for the court by dressing neatly".

You should also turn off your mobile phone, sit quietly, don't eat, drink or chew gum, don't smoke, don't make an audio or visual recording of proceedings. don't broadcast a trial in any way and don't speak to jurors if it is a jury trial.

"The judge or magistrate is in charge of the court and everyone in the courtroom should show them respect," the site says.

"This includes standing whenever the magistrate or judge enters or leaves the courtroom, bowing your head to acknowledge the magistrate or judge every time they enter or leave the courtroom and calling the magistrate or judge 'Your Honour'."