It is not unusual to hear criticism of judges and their sentencing from politicians and public commentators, but now a retiring Supreme Court judge has backed that view.
In a parting shot, Justice Philip Cummins says sentencing for sexual offences and violent crimes too often falls short of community values
Justice Cummins left the bench of the Victorian Supreme Court in November, so now he can say what he thinks of it.
He used his farewell speech to attack the very system he served for 21 years.
"I consider the courts have not sufficiently secured the rights of victims in doctrine, procedure and sentence," he said.
Justice Cummins told fellow judges their respect and concern for the rights of victims is not reflected in outcomes. He referred to provocation, which was recently abolished as a defence to murder.
"It was not the common law or the courts that rid us of the blight of provocation, behind which much domestic and other violence escaped true consequence," he said.
"It was public commentators and the media and Parliament that did so. Procedurally, it was not the common law or the courts that sufficiently acted to preclude the re-traumatisation of victims by court processes. It was Parliament by procedural reform that did so."
Justice Cummins went further, in a criticism of judges which is usually the domain of politicians and media commentators.
"With sexual offences, violence, and especially domestic violence, I think courts have fallen short on sentence,"
"Courts need to give significantly more attribution to personal responsibility
and to the consequences of that responsibility. I think that sentences imposed should better reflect parliamentary provision and community values."
Former federal MP Phil Cleary is an anti-violence campaigner. He describes Justice Cummins's speech as honourable and brave.
"Justice Cummins is speaking in code, in a sense," he said.
"He's speaking to a group of judges. He can't personally name them and he can't point to all their sins so he has given us a general interpretation.
"There's no question that he's suggesting that it's been the interpretation of the law that's been a problem
and that means judges have been a problem."