New magistrates will be added to the courts in Cairns, Brisbane, Bundaberg and Southport following the announcement of three magisterial appointments today by Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman.
Janice Crawford, John McInnes and Bevan Hughes are to take up their positions on the Bench next week.
“Our three new magistrates have impeccable credentials for the role, with proven court skills, integrity and character,” Ms Fentiman said. “They are a welcome addition to the outstanding group of magistrates who play such an important part in the justice system around Queensland.”
Ms Crawford holds degrees in nursing and law, with post-graduate qualifications in both fields, and has been a barrister for more than a decade, appearing in matters across the Magistrates, District, Supreme and Appeals Courts, plus Federal Court judicial review matters.
Her added expertise in nursing and mental health matters saw her act as a Junior Counsel at the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry in 2015, counsel assisting the Commission of Inquiry into Youth Detention and Young Prisoners in 2016, and the federal Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of people with disabilities in 2019.
Mr McInnes has been a respected barrister with Legal Aid Queensland for the past 23 years. He was admitted to the Bar in 1995 and has been dedicated to providing legal assistance to financially disadvantaged members of society ever since.
As a senior member of the in-house counsel at Legal Aid, Mr McInnes has obtained vast experience as a criminal defence barrister, and regularly appears in District and Supreme Court trials, as well as in the Court of Appeal.
Mr Hughes was admitted as a solicitor in 1994 and has worked as a senior practitioner in both Sydney and Brisbane. He has been a Member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for the last decade, starting as an adjudicator in 2011.
During his time with QCAT, Mr Hughes has presided over more than 5000 matters across a range of jurisdictions including administrative and commercial law, domestic violence and tenancy, and human rights. He has also contributed several articles to QLS Proctor.
Ms Crawford will initially sit in Brisbane before transferring to Southport next April, when Mr McInnes moves from Southport to Bundaberg. Mr Hughes begins his tenure in Cairns.
Queensland Law Society President Elizabeth Shearer today welcomed the appointment of the magistrates.
“I congratulate Ms Crawford, Mr McInnes and Mr Hughes on their appointments to this very important role,” Ms Shearer said. “Magistrates are central to upholding the administration of justice and ensuring access to justice for all. The new appointees have a wealth of experience, and I commend them for their willingness to serve the people of Queensland as Magistrates. I wish them every success.”