Prima Facie screening leaves lasting impression.

Decorative image
“You can’t unsee what you see.”
On Wednesday 17 April 2024, the Judicial College welcomed more than 80 guests to the twilight event Prima Facie: Film screening with Suzie Miller held at the State Library of Victoria.

Samantha Burchell, Chief Executive Officer of the Judicial College, introduced Suzie Miller’s award-winning play as ‘a cultural piece that could not be more pertinent’. Jodie Comer’s searing performance in the West End production of Prima Facie is compelling, and the uncomfortable spotlight on the legal system’s response to sexual offences is hard to ignore. While it is well known that sexual offences are significantly underreported, under-prosecuted and under-convicted, art can be more affecting than mere words or statistics. The empathy Prima Facie has been able to elicit has turned up the volume for voices protesting that the legal system is not designed to deliver safe pathways to justice for sexual assault complainants. The play’s final plea is that ‘something has to change’.

The post-screening program featured acclaimed playwright and powerhouse Suzie Miller in conversation with the Hon. Marcia Neave AO, the Hon. Jennifer Coate AO, and the Hon. Justice John Champion. The esteemed panel, who have each been involved in shaping the laws and legal practices that define our community, discussed the power and responsibility of judicial officers to manage sexual offence cases in a trauma-informed way.

The aim of the event was to encourage fresh perspectives and reflections from the audience through a creative medium. The power of the play and the advocacy of the speakers has left indelible impressions on attending judicial officers, evidenced in the overwhelmingly positive feedback received. Here are some highlights:

An excellent example of a work of art challenging community assumptions and generating discussion and greater understanding of very complex themes.

It was inspiring to see art's impact on the law and to hear from Suzie and the panel on these important issues.

This was an incredibly powerful judicial education session ... The addition of Suzie and this impeccable panel was both grounding and totally inspiring. This screening is a must for all new judicial officers and everyone sitting now.

The College extends its sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to and attended this event.