Magistrates Welcome Ceremony

Magistrates Welcome Ceremony

Wednesday 25 October, Magistrates Court, Brisbane

President’s address

May it please the Court.

I am delighted to be here today, on behalf of the Queensland Law Society and its near 12 000 solicitor members, to welcome your honours to your new roles.

I have spent much time over the last two years advocating for more judges and magistrates across all jurisdictions, the significant spike in criminal lodgings in both the Supreme and District Courts of this state, are equally reflected in the massive workload, in this, the people’s court. While I knew the Attorney General was listening to the radio, I had no idea she was listening so closely; to welcome six new magistrates is a genuine pleasure. Judicial appointments can sometimes seem like buses, you spend a long time waiting, then all of a sudden 6 appear at once. So your honours appearance today is a great comfort and blessing for all those who have waited patiently, including the Chief Magistrate, who has only just returned from Italy where the public transport famously never runs on time. 

If there were ever any doubt as to the immense depth and quality of the Queensland Legal profession, today’s appointments dispel it permanently. The fact that it is possible to find six such outstanding candidates in one fell swoop demonstrates that Queensland’s legal profession, especially the solicitors branch, is brimming with extraordinarily capable lawyers determined to serve justice and their fellow Queenslanders, without fear or favour.

I say serve, because that is what our magistrates courts do-they serve justice and the community, in the most direct and tangible way. It is in the magistrates courts that most laypeople will have whatever contact they have with our justice system, and it is crucial that they see justice operate fairly and efficiently as it is that experience that will inform their views of the system as a whole. Magistrates bear the burden of ensuring that justice is done and seen to be done, to ensure that the public has and maintains faith in the rule of law.

With that in mind, it is clear we could not be welcoming a better-suited cohort than your honours, because although your CVs are diverse they all have a commonality,  an unwavering commitment to the rule of law, where all before it are treated equitably, respectfully and fairly. Your shared commitment to serving court, colleagues and community is not something to which any of you came late; it is clearly a life-long commitment – a calling.

Magistrate Courtney, your honour’s commitment to service includes prestigious opportunities such as, going jogging with Bill Potts at a time when both your joints didn’t need so much glucosamine and serving with the Bar Association particularly on the Sunshine Coast. I’ve heard the briefs at that Bar are often very brief and a little sandy. You honour has had both time as a prosecutor and a defence lawyer and has earned the admiration of all who have worked with you. We wish you well at your time at the “Ville”.

Magistrate Kelly, your honour’s CV includes stellar work at the Commission of Inquiry into Organised Crime, and your skills will now be utilised in the very important Family and Domestic Violence Court, where the crime is more disorganised though all the more serious because it corrodes the very fabric of our society, families. Violence in any form is heinous but violence against people an individual purports to love and care for is deeply disturbing. It requires strength wisdom and great compassion for all affected, to serve effectively.

Magistrate Kinsella, you bring experience from both the prosecution and defence ends of the bar, which will stand you in good stead on the bench. As a prosecutor your watch words were thoroughness in preparation, skill in advocacy and balanced in approach. You were a fearless advocate but fair. No greater praises can be made.

Magistrate McKenzie, your busy career at the bar has not precluded you from service as an officer in the Royal Australian Navy Defence Force Legal Service-and you have my particular thanks for having given of your time to present at QLS Symposium. Your recent hirsute appearance has been particularly noted in your regular walks along George Street. Your appointment to Southport is very welcome, in the busiest of all regional courts.

Magistrate Maloney, I note with pride that your honour is a former member of QLS and that you come from the people’s side of the legal profession. Your honour holds the prestigious QLS Specialist Accreditation in Criminal Law. You have worked as a defence lawyer with a number of leading firms in Queensland, before starting your own firm of Maloney and McCallum at Southport.  You also have my special thanks for your service on our QLS Criminal Law Committee, assisting with the preparation of submissions on legislative developments and presentations at QLS events, including two symposiums. Your honour has been appointed to the Children’s Court. I’m sure you will draw on your skills in that court, from your time in working with Mr Potts, who I’m sure will have provided you lots of opportunities to deal with child like people.

Magistrate Shepherd, your honour’s extensive and diverse resume includes being the Executive Director of the Organised Crime Commission of Inquiry and Director of Strategic Policy at the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. Those skills will be invaluable in your new role at the vital Domestic and Family Violence Court. It is an honour for you and all magistrates today who have been appointed by our reforming Attorney General.

As I noted earlier, each of your honours has significant experience in serving the public and the profession, evidence that you are superbly suited to your new roles as magistrates. Your careers to date show a dedication to delivering justice, and that dedication is clearly the motivating force behind the paths you have chosen. Queensland is fortunate to be served by such committed and capable magistrates.

On behalf of the solicitors of Queensland, I congratulate you on your appointments, salute your dedication to the cause of justice and wish you all well in your new roles.

May it please the Court.