New District Court Judge Power KC is ready for “interesting trials” in the Ipswich courthouse after his previous experience on the other side of the bench.
The newest of the three resident judges, he was officially welcomed at the Ipswich courthouse today after being sworn in last month.
Judge Power said he was glad to commence his first trial as a judge in the Ipswich court because it had “some symmetry” – his first trial at the private bar was also in Ipswich “in this very courtroom”.
He said that trial “had everything” including discussions before the jury “about the nature of parkour” with reference to the opening sequence to the movie Casino Royale.
A juror was concussed after falling down stairs “perhaps inspired by parkour discussion”, a prosecutor was replaced midway through the trial due to illness, the four-day trial extended to 10 days, and the jury acquitted on half the charges and convicted on half.
“I knew then trials in Ipswich would always be interesting,” Judge Power said.
On a more serious note, he said he was very grateful to be appointed to the District Court in Ipswich, noting the beauty of the city, “particularly at this time of year with the silky oaks and jacarandas out”.
“It is graced by this particularly beautiful courthouse, as His Honour the Chief Judge has said, everyone says it is the best in Queensland. And having seen pretty much every courthouse in Queensland that District Court sits, I would have to agree.”
Chief Judge Devereaux SC welcomed Judge Power at today’s ceremony and thanked those in attendance, saying it was “an important moment in the life of the court and so I respectfully submit in the life of the community of the Ipswich city”.
“Judge Power’s appointment is one of three new, that is additional, positions on the court. The court’s load has increased over many years,” he said.
“Ipswich is one centre where the increase in cases has outstripped even the dedicated and committed efforts of the resident judges, even supported by judges visiting from Brisbane.
“We are happy to come here, I should say, the building is greatly admired and a very pleasant place to work. The resident judges have created an exceptionally harmonious workplace in conjunction with the Ipswich Magistrates and the registry staff in the building.
“Whereas the Brisbane courthouse is the envy of judges from everywhere else in Australia, to a significant degree the Ipswich courthouse, as I have just described it because of the people in it too no doubt, is rather envied by the rest of us.
“Judge Power’s appointment enhances the court service to the community of Ipswich, not just Ipswich. An additional judge at Ipswich is a gain for the whole of court but particularly also nearby towns Toowoomba, Dalby and Warwick.”
Senior Crown Prosecutor Matthew LeGrand, representing the Attorney-General, noted “Ipswich had held the title of Queensland’s fastest growing city for some years” with more than 6000 new residents annually. The city’s population is expected to grow by 170 per cent within the next two decades.
“As the community grows, so too does the need for fair and balanced judicial services,” Mr LeGrand said.
“District Courts are already among Queensland’s busiest. In 2020-2021, the Ipswich District Court finalised 443 criminal matters between these very walls, emphasising the considerable workload of this court.”
Nicholas Ferrett KC for the Bar Association of Queensland noted the Judge’s “encyclopaedic knowledge of the law”. This meant colleagues saved their difficult questions for him, extending his walk from the lift to his chamber by three-quarters of an hour.
Former chamber colleagues also shared stories of Judge Power’s “feng shui practices”, moving his desk away from the windows as the weather changed and an assortment of obscure rocks arranged on his desk.
Mr Ferrett KC joked that apart from the feng shui concern, the association was honored to have the opportunity to congratulate His Honour in this “vital and historic region of Queensland”.