Second woman sent out of court in breastfeeding protest
A woman has staged a breastfeeding protest in a Victorian court to "show solidarity" for another mother who was kicked out of the courtroom by a judge.
The County Court judge's move last week drew ire in the community, including from advocates who called on him to apologise.
"Madam, you will not be permitted to breastfeed a baby in court. I'm sorry. I will have to ask you to leave," Judge Mark Gamble had told the woman.
"It will be a distraction for the jury at the very least."
The woman was seated in a back corner of the courtroom and was covered in a blanket.
Another woman, Peta Brunel, brought her crying baby into court on Tuesday as the trial resumed.
She smiled and laughed when defence barrister Ian Hill, KC, asked her to take the baby outside, but did.
Ms Brunel returned when Judge Gamble was speaking to lawyers about what to do.
"The lady concerned has just exposed her breast and is breastfeeding the baby in court as we speak," Judge Gamble said.
"You might want to have a look behind you so you can gauge what we're dealing with."
Mr Hill said her presence would be distracting during his closing remarks in the trial.
Prosecutor Justin Lewis agreed, but said his chief concern was "the unsettled nature of the baby".
Judge Gamble said allowing the woman and the crying baby to remain would be distracting to jurors, which was unfair on them and on prosecutors.
"Madam I'm sorry, but I am going to have to ask you to leave the court with your baby. Thank you," he said.
Ms Brunel told AAP she attended court to show support for the breastfeeding mother who was kicked out last week.
"I just wanted to stand in solidarity with her and let her know there are other women out there who fully understand why she needed to feed her child in court," she said.
"It is a public gallery that should be open for all members of the public to see the administration of justice."
Ms Brunel won't stage any further protests, saying she was confident she got her message across.
But the former lawyer said the court still had a long way to go to make the facilities comfortable and safe for breastfeeding mothers.
"Not only can you apparently not breastfeed in the courtroom but there's actually nowhere for you to go," she said. "I really feel that's unfair."