News State Victoria News Vic magistrate counselled over ‘buyer’s remorse’ rape remark

Vic magistrate counselled over ‘buyer’s remorse’ rape remark

Richard Pithouse
Richard Pithouse faced an investigation by the Judicial Commission. Photo: Hamilton Spectator
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A Victorian magistrate has been counselled after suggesting a rape victim had experienced “buyer’s remorse”.

Magistrate Richard Pithouse “acknowledged the shortcomings of his approach” after making the comments to the woman regarding a 2018 compensation claim in a rape case.

The Judicial Commission of Victoria on Tuesday said it had closed its investigation into Mr Pithouse’s conduct, after he received counselling from Chief Magistrate Lisa Hannan.

In 2020, the commission found Mr Pithouse “infringed the standards generally expected of a judicial officer”.

He suggested the victim had experienced “buyer’s remorse” after being told she called a sexual assault crisis line the morning after the incident.

Mr Pithouse also remarked “intoxication is not an excuse for the purposes of the tribunal” and said the woman had “put herself in that position”.

The commission labelled the “buyer’s remorse” remark highly inappropriate and insensitive, and said the comments about alcohol could “reasonably be construed as victim-blaming”.

Mr Pithouse was subsequently counselled about the need to exercise sensitivity, courtesy and respect including to those who had experienced family violence.

“The officer accepted the criticisms of his conduct and acknowledged the shortcomings of his approach,” the commission said on Tuesday.