Queensland Law Society President Elizabeth Shearer has assured the state’s six newest magistrates they will have the full support of the solicitors’ branch of the legal profession as they take up their roles across our decentralised state.
Ms Shearer today congratulated the new appointees during a welcome ceremony led by Queensland Chief Magistrate Judge Terry Gardiner in Brisbane’s George Street Magistrates Complex.
Those new appointments included Shane Elliott (Charleville), John McInnes (Southport and then Bundaberg), Megan Power (Innisfail), Janice Crawford (Brisbane and then Southport), Stephanie Gallagher (Brisbane Magistrates and Coroners Court) and Bevan Hughes (Cairns).
“Each of the six magistrates we welcome today can take justified pride in their professional achievements,” Ms Shearer said. “The Queensland community can take pride in the fact that six such professionals are willing to serve as magistrates right across our state.
“It is an onerous responsibility you each accept. You can be assured of the support of the solicitors of Queensland and we wish each of you success.”
Ms Shearer said that, as a community, Queenslanders asked a lot of the Magistrates Court.
“It is charged with delivering justice according to law, throughout our large decentralised state,” she said. “Its wide geographic reach is the most comprehensive of courts, and the scope of its subject matter is equally wide.
“It is a very busy court and the public interest in its work is keen. But even more importantly, most people who have any personal experience of the justice systems gain that experience in the Magistrates Court.
“On most days, today is of course an exception, few people come to court willingly. And unlike today, which is an occasion for celebration, on most days coming to court is one of the most stressful life experiences a person will face.
“Magistrates must not just ensure that justice is done according to law, your Honours are responsible for ensuring that it is seen to be done – so that whether or not a person appearing in your court achieves the outcome they were hoping for, they leave your court knowing that they received equal treatment and that they were heard.
“It is very heartening, to be here on an occasion when so many capable lawyers take on this solemn responsibility.”
In his welcoming address to the six, Chief Magistrate Gardiner said he regarded the appointment to judicial office as a call to service of Queenslanders, in any of the places the new appointees were to sit.
“As important as technical competence (in being a magistrate) is, having an equitable temperament is of no less importance,” Judge Gardiner said. “It comprises qualities of tact, compassion, humility, patience, punctuality, courage and a willingness to listen.
“I can say with confidence our new appointees have these qualities.”