Breastfeeding mother embarrassed

Last updated 05:00 26/10/2012

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A Wanaka woman who breastfed her baby daughter in Queenstown District Court says she would not have done so if she knew what would happen.

Catherine Owen, originally from Britain, was sitting in the public gallery on Tuesday when 18-week-old daughter Brianny started to cry. Judge Kevin Phillips asked why there was a baby in the court and Ms Owen left the courtroom.

The mother of three yesterday said she understood it was his courtroom but said it was the way he went about it that embarrassed her.

"He can run it how he chooses.

"She [Brianny] would have been making a fuss otherwise. Yes, it was a bit embarrassing, my instinct kicked in, I heard him say it, got up and walked straight out.

"It would have been more embarrassing to be asked to leave by the bailiff."

She went back into the court when her partner's name was called and yesterday said she was not planning to take the matter any further.

"I wouldn't dream of bringing my toddlers in there but my partner was due up and, to keep her quiet, I was going to feed. It didn't occur to me it would be an issue."

According to the Justice Ministry, a judge can run a courtroom with the legal authority to administer justice. Courtrooms are open to the public but are not public places in the everyday sense.

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- The Southland Times

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