An angry Australian judge today blasted those who appeared before him - but his fury wasn't directed at the defendants.

Chief Magistrate Judge Graeme Henson declared he was "underwhelmed" by lawyers who sought case delays at Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court, and he took aim at others for making calls he said were judges' to make.

Judge Henson made his displeasure known after a string of cases were called during the busy call-over court when lawyers asked for their matters to be adjourned.

"If we were marking lawyers today we would be marking them near the bottom, not the top," he told the packed court.

Advertisement

After one attempted to gain an adjournment for her client, the judge quizzed her on why she was so confident it would achieve anything. The case had already been put off twice "and the outcome achieved was another adjournment".

Soon after, another lawyer asked for their client's case to also be adjourned, only for a bemused Judge Henson to fall silent and remark: "I'm counting to 10 ... "

If they were successful in securing an adjournment, the battle then turned to when they would be heard. And the judge wanted the lawyers to know who the boss was.

One outlined to the court a number of dates they were available on - putting him on a collision course with Judge Henson who said it "would be nice to accommodate" their commitments, but equally it would be "nice if you can accommodate ours".

"It's been all one-way traffic this morning. Let's see if we can change the direction."

The two parties reached an agreement and, showing his sense of humour, he advised the lawyer: "Run while you still can."

While not commenting on any particular lawyer, he wondered if the continual adjournment requests were a "rouse" to buy more time.

"If Pinocchio [was a lawyer] he would be the one with the shortest nose in the courtroom," he said.

On a number of occasions, defendants didn't actually appear in court, believing they were excused from attending. They weren't.

In a stinging rebuke, he told one lawyer he was marking the client as "making no appearance" and not excused. By doing so, he was making it clear "long and loud the decision to excuse is made by judiciary, not the practitioner".

Prosecutors didn't escape the lashing either when it emerged a number of briefs of evidence hadn't been completed on time.

When informed about the lengthy delays for the police to forensically examine seized laptops, he lamented the case was "another example of a first-world country with a third-world problem".

Not even the New South Wales government was immune from criticism.

After yet another adjournment request Judge Henson informed the court of the explosion in cases in recent years.

"Our case load has expanded by 40,000 matters a year [at a time] we have eight magistrates less than five years ago."