Apology to breastfeeding mum kicked out of court urged
A Victorian judge's decision to send a breastfeeding mother out of the courtroom has drawn ire and derision from members of the public.
The County Court judge told the woman she could not breastfeed during the trial because it would be distracting.
"Madam you will not be permitted to breastfeed a baby in court. I'm sorry. I will have to ask you to leave," he said on Thursday.
"It will be a distraction for the jury at the very least."
He held firm to his decision on Friday, telling jurors his comments were "self-explanatory".
"It is not a matter that you should be giving any real consideration to going forward as it is irrelevant to your task," the judge said.
But advocates are calling on the judge to apologise to the woman, saying his stance was outdated.
REACTION TO THE INCIDENT:
* "Babies have been breastfed in the parliament of this country and in other parliaments. I don't think there is any public space in which breastfeeding a baby should be unacceptable" - Melbourne obstetrician Nisha Khot
* "No one should be prevented from fully participating in work, the community or in life, because they are breastfeeding. There should not be restrictions or limitations on when, where or how breastfeeding occurs" - Maurice Blackburn special counsel Emily Creak
* "If we police people for that, we just increase the isolation that mothers experience and we create a situation where breastfeeding becomes that much more difficult" - The Parenthood chief executive Georgie Dent
* "This poor woman was made to feel humiliated. She felt ashamed and absolutely brought to tears and all because she was trying to help her child out. What would be more distracting is a crying child who's hungry" - Birth Beat founder Edwina Sharrock
* "It's 2023 for goodness sake and women should never be feeling that they can't actually feed their child, which is perfectly natural and a pretty basic thing" - Victorian Early Childhood Minister Ingrid Stitt
* "I used to practice as a barrister and I've got to say, in my experience, people don't get distracted by a lady breastfeeding in the public gallery" - Victorian Shadow Attorney-General Michael O'Brien