The District Court of Western Australia 

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Julian Assange extradition ruling labelled a ‘travesty of justice’

Reporters Without Borders condemned the decision,

which it said will prove historic ‘for all the wrong reasons’

 
New Chief Judge Julie Ann Wager appointed to head WA’s District Court
JulieAnnWager_DistrictCourtChiefJudgeFom 2020-Photo
 
Julie Ann Wager Appointed the Chief Judge of the District Court
of Western Australia in 2020
Admitted as a legal practitioner 1986
First Magistrate appointed to the Drug Court 2001-2005
Judge of the District Court of Western Australia 2005-
 
 
Loading video
If You Leave Me Now - Chicago
 
new District Court Judge Julie Wager, speaking during the virtual farewell

 

New District Court Judge Julie Wager, speaking during the virtual farewell

Interview with chief judge Wager

Prior to your Honour's judicial appointment what was your experience of the District Court? 
 
Wager CJ: As a young lawyer in the criminal law section of Legal Aid of Western Australia, I had the opportunity to appear regularly in the District Court. These appearances became almost daily once I commenced practice as a sole practitioner and prior to my appointment as a Magistrate in 2000. Although some of my very early appearances before one or two of the judges were character building, I was fortunate enough to appear as counsel before fantastic Judges of this Court who I admired so much. I was often counsel before his Honour Paul Healy who presided over impeccably run and very fair jury trials. He had a keen interest in the law and ensured that points that arose were dealt with appropriately and efficiently. Paul Healy was a judge who took his judicial oath very seriously indeed. I am so glad the District Court Library is named the Paul Healy Library in his honour.
 
Julie Ann Wager was admitted as a Western Australian legal practitioner in 1986. Julie Ann Wager became the first magistrate appointed to the Drug Court from 2001--2005 and subsequently became a judge of the District Court of Western Australia in 2005.
In May 2020, Ms Wager will become the second woman to be appointed Chief Judge of the District Court of Western Australia, and one of the 12 female District Court judges in the State of Western Australia..
Julie Ann Wager was president of the Criminal Lawyers Association of WA and president of the Children's Court of WA.
 
 JULIE ANNE WAGER
From: Judges and Magistrates of Western Australia Part 5
By Nico Burmiester, Greg Milner & Wendy Matz
 
Julie Anne Wager was born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth on 13 September 1962, becoming a sixth generation Western Australian. Her father was an Associate Professor in Engineering at the University of Western Australia and her mother ran the family home in Dalkeith. Julie attended the local primary school and completed her secondary education at Hollywood Senior High School. In 1980 she enrolled in the Law Faculty at the University of Western Australia. She obtained a Bachelor of Jurisprudence in 1984 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1985.
  Magistrate Wager undertook articles at the Legal Aid Commission (WA) under the wing of Len Roberts-Smith QC.' Following Legal Aid, she worked as a duty solicitor at the Children's Court. She then joined the law firm of Clairs Keeley, where she specialised in family law. In 1988 she accepted an offer to return to the Legal Aid Commission as the acting solicitor in charge of the Criminal Law Division. Three years later she established her own law firm, where she specialised in criminal law for the next nine years.
    In 1996 Magistrate Wager was elected President of the Criminal Lawyers Association of Western Australia for two years. From 1998 to 2000 she served on the Council of the Law Society of Western Australia and in 2000 acted as the Society's media spokesperson on criminal law.
  She was appointed a stipendiary magistrate in October 2000 to set up and preside over the Drug Court program in the Court of Petty Sessions in Perth.
    The Drug Court of Western Australia was originally a two-year pilot program aimed at drug offenders who steal or commit other crimes in order to finance their habits. After pleading guilty, the offender's sentence is postponed while he or she  is before the Drug Court. During this time the offender must meet the stringent requirements of individually tailored programs established by the Court. Such programs include strict routine drug testing, allied to a system of penalties and rewards that will ideally result in total rehabilitation.
  Does Magistrate Wager ever get emotional, considering the cases she has to deal with on a daily basis in the Drug Court? Of course, but she uses her emotions in a very practical and positive way to assist offenders to understand their problems and devise strategies to overcome them. She believes that solving an offender's problems involves looking behind the drugs and alcohol to discover the underlying cause of the insecurity and fear of reality that affects so many of the people who appear before her.
   Magistrate Wager believes in calling a spade a spade and makes a determined effort to speak simply and directly to those who appear before her in the Drug Court in language they understand. She believes strongly that people being processed by the criminal justice system must know exactly what is happening to them and be made aware that their own actions and attitudes can influence the final outcome.
  Magistrate Wager is a warm, approachable and down-to-earth woman, but at the same time highly professional and knowledgeable in the law. She has acquired a clear understanding of the problems of drug users, having been exposed to them for so many years as a solicitor and on the bench.
    With regard to legal education, Magistrate Wager believes that articled clerks must receive adequate training and be encouraged to ask questions and take active roles from the start. She questions the modern view that students with the highest grades make the best practitioners and challenges this 'narrow view of what a successful graduate is'. The principals of law firms should be responsible for the training of articled clerks and they should take this responsibility very seriously, she says, 'as having a competent and confident legal profession depends on it'
  Overall Magistrate Wager believes that the criminal justice system works reasonably well in its present state and has done so for many years. She does not believe in sudden change, but rather advocates incremental and carefully considered reform. Change for the sake of it, she says, 'is a dangerous thing'.
  She has served on a number of committees including Justice Pigeon's Committee on Child Witnesses and Children's Evidence, and Justice Miller's Committee for Assisting Unrepresented Appellants in the Court of Criminal Appeal (WA).
  Magistrate Wager does not worry too much about the future. She is satisfied with where her career path has taken her. She is clear that whatever new and exciting opportunity awaits, a decision will only be made at that time.
    Magistrate Wager is fond of contemporary music and sport. In her spare time, she maintains a rigorous daily gym routine and enjoys trekking and adventure holidays in remote and exotic locations.
 
 
 
Video of Retiring District Court Chief Judge Kevin Sleight Gives
His Farewell Speech in 2020 In WA's First Virtual Ceremony
Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic
 
RetiringWADistrict CourtChiefJudgeKevinSleightGivesHisFarewellSpeechInWA'sFirstVirtualCeremonyDueToTheCovidPandemic
Retiring District Court Chief Judge Kevin Sleight Gives
His Farewell Speech in 2020 In WA's First Virtual Ceremony
Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic
 
The virtual sitting of the District Court to farewell chief Judge Kevin Sleight.
Virtual Faurewell For Western Ausralian District Court Chief Justice

The District Court of Western Australia was established on 1 April 1970.  While the prevailing judicial system of the Supreme Court, the Local Courts and Courts of Petty Sessions had been adequate, the rapid expansion of Western Australia’s population required the establishment of an intermediate system of courts. Another Court was also needed to relieve pressure and avoid a backlog of cases in the other courts, especially the Supreme Court.

The District Court of Western Australia was therefore established with both criminal and civil jurisdiction, to provide a flexible framework to accommodate the needs of Western Australia in the administration of justice.

In 1971 civil trials were temporarily held in the Public Trust building behind St George’s Cathedral. Criminal trials continued to be heard in the Supreme Court. From April 1982 the District Court was relocated to the Central Law Courts at 30 St George’s Terrace allowing both criminal and civil cases to be heard in the one building.

In 1999, due to continued growth in the Court’s caseload, the District Court took possession of four additional criminal courtrooms created in the May Holman Centre adjacent to the Central Law Courts.  The District Court was based in Central Law Courts and the May Holman Centre until June 2008 when it relocated to its current, purpose-built court house at 500 Hay Street, Perth.

https://www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/50-years-of-justice-the-district-court-of-western-australia

Doing Right to All - 50 years of justice at the District Court of Western Australia

District Court of Western Australia

Chief Judge

Her Honour Judge Julie Ann Wager

Chief Judge's Executive Assistant 
Telephone: (08) 9425 2360

Manager of Associates and Ushers
Telephone: (08) 9425 2479

Senior Associate
Telephone: (08) 9425 2411
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2164
Email: associate.chief.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Chief Judge appointed to head WA’s District Court

 
Hon John Quigley LLB JP MLA

Attorney General; Minister for Electoral Affairs 

Friday, 28 February 2020
 
 
 Her Honour Judge Julie Wager appointed new Chief Judge of WA District Court
Judge Wager will replace Chief Judge Kevin Sleight who retires on May 1
District Court Judge Hylton Quail appointed new President of the Children's Court of Western Australia, replacing Judge Wager 

Attorney General John Quigley is pleased to announce the appointment of Her Honour Judge Julie Wager as the new Chief Judge of the District Court of Western Australia.

Her Honour - a past president of the Criminal Lawyers Association of WA - replaces Chief Judge Kevin Sleight who retires on May 1. Mr Quigley paid tribute to Chief Judge Sleight's longstanding and exemplary service to the Court.

Mr Quigley said Judge Wager's extensive experience as a judicial officer, coupled with her renowned compassion and empathy, made her an excellent choice for the role.

Judge Wager was a criminal lawyer for 14 years before being appointed as the inaugural Magistrate of the WA Drug Court in 2000. She was appointed to the District Court in 2005 and has been President of the Children's Court since March 2018.

Her Honour becomes the second woman to be appointed Chief Judge of the WA District Court and is one of 12 female District Court judges in the State.

Mr Quigley said Judge Wager is highly respected within Western Australia's legal circles and has a reputation for fairness.

He is also pleased to announce the appointment of District Court Judge, His Honour Hylton Quail, as the new President of the Children's Court of Western Australia.

Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:

"I am delighted to announce the appointment of Judge Wager to the role of WA's Chief Judge of the District Court. Her Honour was a formidable advocate at law and has been an outstanding Magistrate, Judge and President of the Children's Court.

"Judge Wager is a respected member of the WA legal profession and brings to her new role 15 years' experience on the bench, coupled with a wealth of knowledge, empathy and compassion from her years as a criminal lawyer.

"Judge Wager's outstanding legal skills are complemented by her empathy and compassion.

"I would like to extend my appreciation to retiring Chief Judge Kevin Sleight and to acknowledge his significant contribution to the administration of justice in WA since his appointment to the bench in 2005.

"His Honour oversaw the updating of a number of practice directions for the Court and held a number of educative roles, particularly in the area of making proceedings less challenging for child witnesses. I thank His Honour, on behalf of the WA Government.

"Judge Quail brings nearly 30 years of experience to the Children's Court and a demonstrated commitment to the administration of criminal law in Western Australia.

"His Honour has presided over the Children's Court in the past as the Acting President when the President has been on leave and has a good knowledge of the jurisdiction, practices and procedures of the Court. His Honour will take up his new position on March 15, 2020 for a term of two years."

Attorney General's office - 6552 6800 

50 years of justice at the District Court of Western Australia

 
 
The legal community marked 50 years of the District Court of Western Australia on Saturday night with a gala dinner organised by the Law Society of WA.

 

https://www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/50-years-of-justice-the-district-court-of-western-australia

 

The legal community has recognised the eminent role of the District Court of Western Australia with a celebration of its 50th anniversary.

A gala dinner hosted by the Law Society of Western Australia to mark the milestone had been postponed for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

District Court Chief Judge Julie Wager spoke on behalf of the Court at the February 27 event, also attended by her immediate predecessor, Judge Kevin Sleight.

Since its founding in 1970 with four judges in response to a growing population, the District Court has played a crucial role in the State's justice system.

Now with 32 judges, the court conducts hundreds of trials each year across the breadth of Western Australia.

"It's occupied that middle range section of the criminal world, shall we say, between the Supreme Court and the Magistrates' Court and that has been growing like nothing else," former Chief Judge Kevin Hammond says in a video commemorating the anniversary.

"It's where the majority of work lies – and the District Court has concentrated on that area," he says.

Another former Chief Judge, Antoinette Kennedy, became the State's first woman judge when she joined the District Court in 1985.

"It was seven years before another woman was appointed, and then more women were appointed, and it simply changes the atmosphere," Her Honour says.

It was during her term as Chief Judge that the District Court building was planned and constructed, opening in 2008.

"The struggle to get the building, then to get it called the District Court was a substantial struggle."

Judges interviewed agreed that one constant in the Court's history has been the quality of the personnel.

"The Court is a very collegiate one and I'm very fortunate that so many very wise and experienced judges have been so willing to assist and listen and share their knowledge," Judge Kate Glancy says.

Her Honour Judge Kennedy says: "It wasn't our job to be popular, it was our job to do justice according to law. And I believe the calibre of people we attracted did that."

 

JulieAnnWager_DistrictCourtChiefJudgeFom 2020-Photo
 
Julie Ann Wager Appointed the Chief Judge of the District Court
of Western Australia in 2020
 
new District Court Judge Julie Wager, speaking during the virtual farewell
New District Court Judge Julie Wager, speaking during the virtual farewell

Julie Ann Wager,

the New Chief Judge of the District Court of Western Australia

at the fairwell celebration of 

 former District Chief Judge Kevin Fredrick Sleight

 

Behind the judicial robes of the former District Chief Judge Kevin Fredrick Sleight

beats the heart of a '70s music lover

By Aja Styles May 4, 2020 
 
RetiringWADistrict CourtChiefJudgeKevinSleightGivesHisFarewellSpeechInWA'sFirstVirtualCeremonyDueToTheCovidPandemic
Retiring District Court Chief Judge Kevin Sleight Gives
His Farewell Speech in 2020 In WA's First Virtual Ceremony
Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic

50 years of justice at the District Court of Western Australia

 
The legal community marked 50 years of the District Court of Western Australia on Saturday night with a gala dinner organised by the Law Society of WA.

The legal community has recognised the eminent role of the District Court of Western Australia with a celebration of its 50th anniversary.

A gala dinner hosted by the Law Society of Western Australia to mark the milestone had been postponed for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

District Court Chief Judge Julie Wager spoke on behalf of the Court at the February 27 event, also attended by her immediate predecessor, Judge Kevin Sleight.

Since its founding in 1970 with four judges in response to a growing population, the District Court has played a crucial role in the State's justice system.

Now with 32 judges, the court conducts hundreds of trials each year across the breadth of Western Australia.

"It's occupied that middle range section of the criminal world, shall we say, between the Supreme Court and the Magistrates' Court and that has been growing like nothing else," former Chief Judge Kevin Hammond says in a video commemorating the anniversary.

"It's where the majority of work lies – and the District Court has concentrated on that area," he says.

Another former Chief Judge, Antoinette Kennedy, became the State's first woman judge when she joined the District Court in 1985.

"It was seven years before another woman was appointed, and then more women were appointed, and it simply changes the atmosphere," Her Honour says.

It was during her term as Chief Judge that the District Court building was planned and constructed, opening in 2008.

"The struggle to get the building, then to get it called the District Court was a substantial struggle."

Judges interviewed agreed that one constant in the Court's history has been the quality of the personnel.

"The Court is a very collegiate one and I'm very fortunate that so many very wise and experienced judges have been so willing to assist and listen and share their knowledge," Judge Kate Glancy says.

Her Honour Judge Kennedy says: "It wasn't our job to be popular, it was our job to do justice according to law. And I believe the calibre of people we attracted did that."

Page reviewed 30 March 2021 

Published 15 March 2021

Provided by  Department of Justice

 The virtual sitting of the District Court to farewell chief Judge Kevin Sleight
Virtual Faurewell For Western Ausralian District Court Chief Justice

The chief judge tasked with converting Western Australia’s District Court to an e-system was fittingly farewelled in the state’s first ever virtual ceremony on Friday as a man, behind the navy robes, with a sense of humour and penchant for ’70s rock music.

Retiring Chief Judge of Courts and Tribunals, Kevin Fredrick Sleight, had announced his retirement to government at the start of the year, before the coronavirus pandemic had taken hold.

Retiring District Court Chief Judge Kevin Sleight gives his farewell speech in WA's first virtual ceremony due to the pandemic on Monday.

But he had still been instrumental in the courts’ response to the virus, including giving priority to criminal proceedings over civil matters as well as the use of telephone or video conferencing to enhance protective measures, and the push back on trial dates, where needed.

“Your honour has been at the forefront of the courts’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic and I know it was a concern of your honour that ... you did not want to be seen to be leaving at a critical time for the court,” Attorney General John Quigley said during the ceremony.

“However it was not to be foreseen that we would be in this situation … Everyone knows the preparations you have made, the assistance you have given the [incoming] chief judge and the liaison that you’ve had with the government, even as recently as of two days ago before the Heads of Jurisdiction meeting for the further rollout of the COVID justice response.”

Judge Sleight had already spent his five years as chief judge overseeing “a tsunami of work” by court staff in implementing e-filing systems and civil e-trials.

The virtual sitting of the District Court to farewell chief Judge Kevin Sleight. SCREENSHOT

But rather than a digital legacy, Judge Sleight’s biggest passion was in acknowledging Indigenous history and culture, which included the implementation of Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Program where judges were invited on country in the Kimberley to discuss the impacts and protections European law had in the communities, and a formal nod in court to the original custodians of the land, the Whadjuk people of the wider Noongar clan.

“These acknowledgements are important to me, they were introduced by me at ceremonial sittings of court when I first became the chief judge (in 2015); they are, of course now, very much common practice,” Judge Sleight said in his virtual farewell.

“The law to which I have dedicated most of my adult life unfortunately has been a rather blunt instrument for creating further social imbalances against Aboriginal people; the obvious example of this is the unacceptable high rates of imprisonment of Aboriginal people.”

 

Born as the second youngest among eight children, his parents raised him modestly in estate housing accommodation in Belmont and Nollamara, with a view not to buy into popular criticisms of people and there always being two sides to every story.

On having to have a virtual farewell, Judge Sleight reflected: “My late father who despised pretentiousness would see this as potentially a good thing … the disadvantage I face is that I have no idea what they have said about me, I only hope that they were able to find something pleasant to say.”

We then moved to the District Court building where we were positioned across from the charming view of the gentlemen’s toilets, and fortunately seniority and our views have increased over the years.

Chief Judge Julie Wager

His honour’s care for others shone through in the commendations that came from his colleagues, most especially his successor, Chief Judge Julie Wager, who spoke at length about his interest in the mental health of those around him and making himself available “to have a laugh when the opportunity arises”.

Successor and colleague, Judge Julie Wager, speaking during the virtual farewell. SCREENSHOT

“Personally, your honour has been my friend for many years and my chambers’ neighbour since we were both appointed in 2005. Originally our neighbourly chambers were in the Central Law Courts building, we then moved to the District Court building where we were positioned across from the charming view of the gentlemen’s toilets, and fortunately seniority and our views have increased over the years,” she said.

 

Judge Sleight was also the first male judge to participate in a wellness yoga program for judges.

“Throughout the past 15 years your honour has remained remarkably balanced. Having been in yoga with your honour, I can tell you it does not come from there; that balance comes from your Honour’s wife, Helen,” Judge Wager said.

Judge Sleight met his wife in 1977 in London, to which he admonished himself using a line from Leonard Cohen: “I normally prefer handsome men, but for you I will make an exception.”

They have been married for 40 years, with three children and four grandchildren, “who have provided such joy to me and a foundation to living a normal life outside the court”.

But the theme of music continued when Law Society of WA President Nick van Hattem recalled Judge Sleight’s push for a musical playlist to motivate those taking part in Law Access’s Walk for Justice, which raises money for the pro bono charity.

“Some have wondered which tracks were nominated by your honour; was it Queens’ I Want To Break Free? We suspect many of your honours’ colleagues forlornly singing Chicago’s If You Leave Me Now, but I think your honours’ may well have nominated the Sister Sledge's We Are Family, for while your honour can look forward to more time with your family, your honour will be dearly missed by the profession and the family of the District Court,” Mr van Hattem said.

Not done with playful ribbing, Mr van Hattem also gave voice to Judge Sleight’s law school colleagues, which included Mr Quigley in the first year in 1970, recalling his leadership from a young age.

“You honour led on the field as a footy captain, [he] also led off the field following the occasional victory; we’re told even a modest victory, your honour would lead teammates in song from an elevated position at the Subiaco Hotel.”

As to the law society holding any continuing professional development events, Mr van Hatten said they were supported as long as they did not to clash with any West Coast Eagles games; and now with Judge Sleight's imminent social isolation, regarding the letters frequently written by him to his beloved AFL team’s board, “the chairman is delighted the letters might become more regular”.

https://www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/behind-the-judicial-robes-beats-the-heart-of-a-70s-music-lover-20200504-p54pp2.html

 

WA Police Have Uncovered New Infromtion Rrlating To The Murder

Of Healily Pregnant Aged Care Nurse Janet Dweh

Lenny Silveira, Six, Is Home On The Sunshine Coast After The Queensland Government

Back-flipped ,Allowing Him And His Father To Quarantine At Home

After A Brief Reprieve Due To The Pandemic In 2020,

The Qld State Penalties Enforcement Registry Has Announced

It Will Resume Chasing Queenslanders For Unpaid Fines

A Boat Has Capsized Three Hours Off The Coast Of Perth

In Western Australia Leaving One Person Missing

 


Judges In The District Court of Western Australia

as at November 2021

https://lawalmanac.justice.wa.gov.au/D/district_court_of_western_australia_print.aspx

Associate Contact Details

Chief Judge

Date of appointment

Her Honour Judge Julie Anne Wager

28 January 2005

Appointed Chief Judge

02 May 2020

Judges

Date of appointment

His Honour Judge Andrew Steven Stavrianou

10 April 2006

Her Honour Judge Troy Denise Sweeney SC

03 July 2006

His Honour Judge Michael John Bowden

06 March 2007

His Honour Judge Christopher Peter Stevenson

03 December 2007

His Honour Judge John Gerard Staude

08 March 2010

His Honour Judge Timothy Sharp

02 August 2010

His Honour Judge David Ronald Parry

20 June 2011

His Honour Judge Mark Edward Herron

01 July 2013

Her Honour Judge Vicki Laura Stewart

28 October 2014

His Honour Judge Laurence Mark Levy SC

08 December 2014

Her Honour Judge Linda Petrusa SC

02 June 2015

His Honour Judge Michael John Gething

12 February 2016

His Honour Judge Alan Laurence Troy

23 March 2016

Her Honour Judge Belinda Jane Lonsdale

09 October 2017

Her Honour Judge Fiona Vernon

09 January 2018

His Honour Judge Hylton Colin Quail

09 January 2018

Her Honour Judge Kathleen Helen Glancy

09 January 2018

Her Honour Judge Wendy Gillan

12 February 2018

His Honour Judge John Brian Prior

06 March 2018

Her Honour Judge Amanda Jayne Burrows SC

15 March 2018

His Honour Judge Stephen John Lemonis

01 February 2019

His Honour Judge David William MacLean 

14 January 2020

Her Honour Judge Charlotte Jayne Wallace

14 January 2020

Her Honour Judge Mara Rita Barone SC

06 May 2020

His Honour Judge Martin Michael Flynn

03 August 2020

His Honour Judge Gary William Massey

03 August 2020

Her Honour Judge Karen Ann Shepherd

03 August 2020

His Honour Auxiliary Judge Bruce James Hamilton Goetze

04 November 2020

Her Honour Judge Sarah Elizabeth Russell

01 December 2020

Her Honour Judge Carmel Barbagallo SC

01 February 2021

Her Honour Judge Lisa Rosemary Tovey

09 June 2021

Her Honour Judge Natalie Michelle Whitby

09 June 2021

District Court of Western Australia

Chief Judge

Her Honour Judge Julie Ann Wager

Chief Judge's Executive Assistant 
Telephone: (08) 9425 2360

Manager of Associates and Ushers
Telephone: (08) 9425 2479

Senior Associate
Telephone: (08) 9425 2411
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2164
Email: associate.chief.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Judges

His Honour Judge Christopher Peter Stevenson
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2373
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.stevenson@justice.wa.gov.au

His Honour Judge Andrew Steven Stavrianou
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2411
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Her Honour Judge Troy Denise Sweeney SC
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2406
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

His Honour Judge Michael John Bowden
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2403
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.bowden@justice.wa.gov.au

His Honour Judge Christopher Peter Stevenson
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2373
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

His Honour Judge John Gerard Staude
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2407
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.staude@justice.wa.gov.au

His Honour Judge Timothy Sharp
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2893
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.sharp@justice.wa.gov.au

His Honour Judge David Ronald Parry
Associate: See State Administrative Tribunal

His Honour Judge Mark Edward Herron
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 4328
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.herron@justice.wa.gov.au

Her Honour Judge Vicki Laura Stewart
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 4319
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

His Honour Judge Laurence Levy
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2160
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.levy@justice.wa.gov.au

Her Honour Judge Linda Petrusa
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2366
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

His Honour Judge Michael Gething
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2245
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

His Honour Judge Alan Laurence Troy
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2173
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.troy@justice.wa.gov.au

Her Honour Judge Belinda Jane Lonsdale
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2405
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2164
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Her Honour Judge Fiona Vernon
Associate telephone: (08) 9426 4377
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.Vernon@justice.wa.gov.au  

His Honour Judge Hylton Colin Quail
See Children's Court

Her Honour Judge Kathleen Helen Glancy
Associate: See State Administrative Tribunal

Her Honour Judge Wendy Florence Gillan
Associate telephone: (08) 9426 2158
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.gillan@justice.wa.gov.au  

His Honour Judge John Brian Prior
Associate telephone: (08) 9426 2397
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2164
Email: associate.judge.prior@justice.wa.gov.au

Her Honour Judge Amanda Jane Burrows
Associate telephone: (08) 9426 4326
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

His Honour Judge Stephen John Lemonis
Associate telephone: (08) 9426 2277
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

His Honour Judge David William MacLean
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 4370 
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Her Honour Judge Charlotte Jayne Wallace
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 4380
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Her Honour Judge Mara Rita Barone SC
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2411
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.barone@justice.wa.gov.au

His Honour Judge Martin Michael Flynn
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 7982
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.flynn@justice.wa.gov.au

His Honour Judge Gary William Massey
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 7912
Facsimile: (08) 9425 4405
Email: associate.judge.massey@justice.wa.gov.au

Her Honour Judge Karen Ann Shepherd
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 7980
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Her Honour Judge Sarah Russell
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2408
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Her Honour Judge Carmel Barbagallo SC
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2174
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2164
Email: associate.judge.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

His Honour Auxiliary Judge Bruce James Hamilton Goetze
Associate telephone: (08) 9425 2292
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2159
Email: associate.judge.goetze@justice.wa.gov.au

Location of the District Court Registrars

Level 1, District Court Building
500 Hay Street
PERTH WA 6000
Telephone: (08) 9425 2793
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2268

Secretary

Telephone: (08) 9425 2793
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2268

Principal Registrar

Shane Melville BA LLB

Registrars

George Augustus Kingsley LLM
Jacqui Kubacz

Deputy Registrars

Simon Peter Harman LLB
Richard Hewitt BCom BJuris LLB

Associates

Telephone: (08) 9425 2350 or (08) 9425 2315
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2268

District Court Registry

Ground Floor, District Court Building
500 Hay Street
PERTH WA 6000
Telephone: (08) 9425 2128
Facsimile: (08) 9425 2268

Executive Manager

Telephone: (08) 9425 2414

Manager Court Services

Telephone: (08) 9425 2151

Manager Criminal

Telephone: (08) 9425 2170

Manager Civil

Telephone: (08) 9425 2875

Enquiries

Telephone: (08) 9425 2128

Civil Enquiries Telephone: (08) 9425 2178

Criminal Enquiries - Non trial matters for Perth Telephone: (08) 9425 2150

Criminal Enquiries - Trial matters for Perth Telephone: (08) 9425 2230

Criminal Enquiries - Circuit matters Telephone: (08) 9425 2539

Office Hours of District Court

Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 4.00 pm

Deputy Registrars and Locations

Albany - Nichola Rennie
Broome - Shirley Wignall 
Bunbury - Richard Stevenson
Busselton - Andrew Cousins
Carnarvon - Kim Ormesher
Derby - Peta Smallshaw
Esperance - Louisa Woods
Geraldton - Steve Ford
Kalgoorlie - Lisa Delaney
Karratha - Vicki Lubrig
Kununurra - Owen Starling
South Hedland - Veronica Fuller

 

https://www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/50-years-of-justice-the-district-court-of-western-australia

https://www.districtcourt.wa.gov.au/P/past_district_court_judges.aspx

Her Honour Judge Julie Ann Wager

Appointed a District Court Judge 28 January 2005

Appointed the District Court Chief Judge  2nd May 2010

Chief Judge's Executive Assistant 

Telephone: (08) 9425 2360

Past District Court Judges

His Honour Kevin James Hammond
Appointed a District Cort Judge
15 February 1982
Appointed 
Chief Judge 30th Jannuary 1995
Resigned 1st January 2004
Appointed a District Court Judge on 15 March 1985
 
Her Honour Antoinette Kennedy AO
Appointed Chief Judge 01 January 2004
Retired 01 July 2010
 
His Honour Kevin Frederick Sleight 
Appointed District Court Judge
10 January 2005 
Appointed District Court Chief Judge 2015
Retired 01 May 2020
 
His Honour Peter Dominic Martino
Appointed District Court Judge
9 November 2000
Appointed District Court Chief Judge 01 July 2010
Appointed Supreme Court 20 April 2015
Retired 27 April 2018
 
 
 

Name of Judge

 Date of Appointment

 

His Honour Sydney Howard Good

01 April 1970

Retired 1977

His Honour William Page Pidgeon

01 April 1970

Appointed Supreme Court 16 August 1982

His Honour Desmond Charles Heenan

March 1970

Appointed Supreme Court 30 January 1995

His Honour Robert Edmond Jones

01 April 1970

Appointed Supreme Court 01 October 1973

His Honour Arthur Kay

08 March 1972

Retired May 1978

His Honour Frank Ackland

01 October 1973

Retired 31 May 1986

His Honour Victor James Alexander O'Connor

18 February 1974

Retired 22 December 1987

His Honour Ivan Russell Gunning

11 February 1977

Retired 31 December 1998

His Honour Brian Thomas O'Dea

28 May 1978

Retired 22 February 1996

His Honour Francis Joseph Whelan

16 November 1981

Retired 29 July 1993

His Honour Kevin James Hammond

15 February 1982

Chief Judge 30 January 1995
Resigned 01 January 2004

His Honour George Travers Sadleir

30 August 1982

Retired 30 April 1999

His Honour John Samuel

14 February 1983

Deceased 28 March 1986

His Honour Nigel Henry Clarke

02 April 1984

Retired 31 March 1998

Her Honour Antoinette Kennedy AO

15 March 1985

Chief Judge 01 January 2004
Retired 01 July 2010

His Honour Paul James Healy

18 March 1985

Deceased 22 August 2008

His Honour Henry Hall Jackson

21 April 1986

Appointed President Children's Court October 1989 to 1993
Retired 04 August 2006

His Honour Robert Denis Keall

28 May 1986

Retired 31 May 1994

His Honour Kerry White

05 June 1987

Appointed Supreme Court 17 May 1988

His Honour Robert John Viol

11 January 1988

Retired 05 March 2004

His Honour John Gerard Barlow

08 February 1988

Appointed Family Court 09 February 1998
Retired Family Court 11 February 2005

His Honour Peter John Williams

17 May 1988

Retired 16 February 2007

His Honour David Dennison Charters

11 July 1988

Chairman Worker's Compensation Board
Retired 11 August 2001

His Honour Peter Donald Blaxell

11 February 1991

Appointed Supreme Court 01 February 2005
Retired 25 November 2011

His Honour Lawrence Alton Jackson

13 July 1992

Retired 06 February 2004

His Honour Michael Gerald Muller

28 July 1993

President Children's Court 1994
Retired 23 November 2007

Her Honour Mary Ann Yeats AM

28 July 1993

President Children's Court 1995
Retired 05 August 2011

His Honour Michael Denis Finbar O'Sullivan QC

01 June 1994

Retired 09 April 2009

Her Honour Valerie Jean French

16 November 1994

Retired 23 February 2009

His Honour Roger Anthony Macknay QC

16 November 1994

President Children's Court 1999 - 2001
Retired 23 February 2009

His Honour Allan David Fenbury

 30 January 1995

President Children's Court 1996-1998
Retired 12 February 2016

His Honour Henry John Wisbey

18 March 1996

Retired 31 May 2013

Her Honour Shauna Marie Deane QC

13 February 1998

Retired 14 February 2014

His Honour Peter Maurice Nisbet QC

08 June 1998

Retired 20 June 2008

His Honour William George Groves

11 January 1999

Retired 11 January 2011

Her Honour Catherine Joan O'Brien

03 May 1999

Appointed President Children's Court
1 January 2002 to 12 March 2004
Retired 21 May 2010

His Honour Peter Dominic Martino

9 November 2000

Chief Judge 01 July 2010
Appointed Supreme Court 20 April 2015
Retired 27 April 2018

Her Honour Carolyn Frances Jenkins

03 September 2001

Appointed Supreme Court 03 February 2004

His Honour Denis John Reynolds

09 February 2004

Appointed President Children's Court 15 March 2004
Retired 15 March 2018

His Honour Philip Richard Eaton

09 February 2004

Retired 11 February 2018

Her Honour Jane Crisford SC

09 February 2004

Appointed Family Court 24 October 2006
Retired 6 March 2016

His Honour Robert Anthony Mazza

9 February 2004

Appointed Supreme Court 08 March 2010

His Honour John Anthony Chaney SC

23 April 2004

Appointed Supreme Court & President of SAT 23 February 2009

Her Honour Judith Elsa Eckert

01 January 2005

Retired 03 May 2011

His Honour Kevin Frederick Sleight 

10 January 2005 

Appointed Chief Judge 2015
Retired 01 May 2020

His Honour Philip Pierre McCann

28 January 2005

Retired 31 December 2018

His Honour Judge Bruce James Hamilton Goetze

17 July 2006

Retired 29 October 2020

His Honour Richard Ellis Keen

05 February 2007

Retired 23 March 2016

Her Honour Anette Margret Schoombee

26 November 2007

Retired 31 December 2017

His Honour Stephen George Scott

01 July 2008

Retired 31 December 2019

Her Honour Judge Felicity Clare Earls Davis

16 February 2009

Retired 18 September 2020

His Honour Patrick Brian O'Neal

20 April 2009 

Retired 31 January 2020 

His Honour Judge Simon Elliot Stone

04 May 2009

Retired 27 November 2020

Her Honour Janine Pritchard

18 June 2009

Appointed Supreme Court 15 June 2010

His Honour Anthony Samuel Derrick SC

01 June 2010

Appointed Supreme Court 06 March 2018

His Honour Judge Ronald Edward Birmingham QC

23 June 2010

Retired 05 March 2021

Her Honour Judge Audrey Gillian Braddock SC

11 January 2011

Retired 11 January 2021

His Honour Jeremy Clive Curthoys

08 August 2011

Appointed Supreme Court & President of SAT 10 February 2014

His Honour Robert Enos Cock QC

26 March 2012

Retired 25 March 2018

His Honour Judge Simon Dieter Freitag SC

15 December 2020

Resigned 05 March 2021

The Law Lord 

A Must See Film About How Courts Are Run Behind The Scenes

 

To:

 “Associate to Chief Judge Julie Wager” <associate.judge.wager@justice.wa.gov.au>,

“Associate to Registrar Kingsley” <Associate.Registrar.Kingsley@justice.wa.gov.au>,

“Associate to Judge Michael Bowden” <associate.judge.bowden@justice.wa.gov.au>,

“Associate to Judge Carmel Barbagallo” <associate.judge.barbagallo@justice.wa.gov.au>, 

If you read my various volumes of the books "The Triumph of Truth (Who Is Watching The Watchers?) one will soon realize and understand that there is a lot of truth behind what this film portrays in the way the courts have been run in Western Australia.
 
Every person who is involved in the legal, police and political systems or who is interested in how the legal, police, prosecution and political systems are run from behind the scenes, need to watch this important film.
 
When I watched this film I realized that I had shown actual evidence  in my books that shows what this film portrays.
 
Such as the appointment of Listings Coordinator Clerks in the Magistrates, District, Supreme, Courts in Perth Western Australia. The  Listings Coordinator Clerk has a very special job in the courts on behalf of the powerful elite that do their best to control the legal, court, prosecution and political systems in Western Australia.
 
 I sincerely apologize for my critical views in my books and writings of how the legal, police, prosecution and political systems have been run in Western Australia.
 
However, everything I have stated is in my series of books and other writings is all the truth.
 
Unless people running the legal, police, prosecution and political  systems are prepared to allow themselves to be investigated. as well as these systems to be looked into and investigated. in the way these systems are run, then these serious endemic problems and issues will never to corrected or resolved.
 
Signed
Author of the series of books called "The Triumph of Truth (Who Is Watching The Watchers?)
 
 
https://www.news.com.au/news/new-district-court-judge/story-fna7dq6e-1111114820658?sv=ab422518de03515990b9124a5aa7fad6
 
Attorney General Jim McGinty today announced the appointment of Perth's Legal Elite Senior Red Lodge Freemaosn
Christopher Stevenson as as a judge  to the District Court.
 
It s rumored that  Senior Red Lodge Freemason
Christopher Stevenson is being groomed to become the next Chief Judge of the District Court of Western Australia 
 
 
The triumph of truth / by Stephen Carew-Reid - National Library of Australia
catalogue.nla.gov.au › Record
 
Western Australia -- Moral conditions. | Australian. Also Titled. Triumph of truth : who's watching the watchers? Triumph of the truth ...
The triumph of truth / by Stephen Carew-Reid
Bib ID 1388995
Format BookBook
Author
Carew-Reid, Stephen  
Edition 2nd ed. 
Description Perth : The Weekend News, 1996 
v. <1> : ill., ports., facsims. ; 30 cm. 
Notes

Typescript (Photocopy)

Subjects Carew-Reid, Stephen.  |  Political corruption -- Western Australia.  |  Misconduct in office -- Western Australia.  |  Corporations -- Corrupt practices -- Western Australia.  |  Police corruption -- Western Australia.  |  Western Australia -- Moral conditions.  |  Australian
Also Titled

Triumph of truth : who's watching the watchers?

Triumph of the truth

 
 
  • CHIEF JUDGE KEVIN HAMMOND - was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 1960. He was appointed a judge of the District Court of Western Australia in 1982 and in 1995 was appointed Chief Judge. Educated at Christian Brothers College and the University of Western Australia, graduating in law in 1957.
 
  • https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/Gallop/2003/12/High-powered-team-for-new-corruption-watchdog.aspx#:~:text=CHIEF%20JUDGE%20KEVIN%20HAMMOND%20-%20was%20admitted%20as,of%20Western%20Australia%2C%20graduating%20in%20law%20in%201957.
  • High-powered team for new corruption watchdog

    Tuesday, 23 December 2003
     
    23/12/03

    Two of Western Australia’s most eminent and experienced criminal law experts will guide the establishment of the State’s powerful new corruption watchdog.

    Attorney General Jim McGinty today announced the appointments of:

    Chief Judge Kevin Hammond as Commissioner of the new Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC). Chief Judge Hammond - who has resigned his judicial commission effective from January 1, 2004 - will lead the fight against corruption, armed with all the powers of a Royal Commissioner.

    Criminal lawyer Malcolm McCusker QC as independent Parliamentary Inspector of the CCC. His role is to watch over the activities of the CCC and report to Parliament. He will have unlimited access to all CCC information, including operational matters.

    Both appointments are for a period of five years.

    Mr McGinty said the CCC would be the toughest anti-corruption agency in the nation - with substantial new powers to investigate alleged corruption by police and public officers, as well as organised crime.

    “It was absolutely essential that the people entrusted to lead the fight against corruption through the establishment of the CCC were of the highest possible calibre,” he said.

    “This has been achieved.

    “Chief Judge Hammond and Mr McCusker between them have more than 80 years’ experience in criminal law. They are a formidably high-powered team who will perform their functions with absolute diligence and integrity.”

    The appointments have strong support across the political spectrum with the parliamentary leaders of all of the State’s political parties consulted.

    In addition to its new powers to compel witnesses to give evidence, conduct integrity tests and controlled operations and use assumed identities to root out corruption, Mr McGinty said the CCC would have an unprecedented level of accountability.

    “Most importantly, it will have the power to hold public hearings - ending the secrecy of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which it will replace,” he said.

    “The veil of secrecy which has shrouded the work of the ACC prevented the public from knowing anything about its activities. There was no ability to even reassure the public that allegations of corruption were being investigated.

    “By comparison, the CCC will be open and accountable.

    “As well as conducting public hearings similar to those seen at the Police Royal Commission, the Commissioner will be able to confirm investigations publicly, disclose information and comment on outcomes where it is felt to be in the public interest.

    “He will also be able to reveal when a matter has been referred on to other authorities for prosecution or disciplinary action.

    “Importantly, all the CCC’s activities will be overseen by the independent inspector, who will report to Parliament.”

    Mr McGinty said a budget of $21million had been approved for the CCC, more than double that of the old Anti-Corruption Commission.

    The work of the CCC would also be assisted by hefty penalties for anyone seeking to hinder its operations - such as giving false testimony, bribery of witnesses, destroying evidence or victimisation of people assisting the commission.

    The CCC would formally commence on January 1. There would be a brief overlap with the ACC, the framework of which would be maintained for an interim period to enable the handover of any investigations, the resolution of staff redeployment, and to complete a smooth transition of Commonwealth telephone intercept powers.

    CHIEF JUDGE KEVIN HAMMOND - was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 1960. He was appointed a judge of the District Court of Western Australia in 1982 and in 1995 was appointed Chief Judge. Educated at Christian Brothers College and the University of Western Australia, graduating in law in 1957.

    MALCOLM JAMES McCUSKER QC - commenced practising law in 1962 and has extensive experience in both civil and criminal matters. In recognition of his role as a barrister, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1982. He headed the special investigation into the Rothwells Bank collapse in 1989 and has been chairman of the Legal Aid Commission of WA since 1983. Educated at Perth Modern School and the University of Western Australia.

    Attorney General's office: 9220 5000
 
 
  "When the police officer arrived, Kevin showed him the body whereupon the police officer turned immediately to him and said “Kevin James Hammond I must caution you that you do not have to say anything but …”.  
 
  All were provided with extra facilities for legal practitioners and the court users. These complexes in the main, include facilities for remote and vulnerable witnesses and facilities for mediation and pre-trial conferences. The Government is now finalising the task of resolving the future accommodation of the Supreme Court. The need to expand the number of courtrooms and support infrastructure for the Supreme Court has long been recognised. The last expansion, the construction of an annex in 1987 next to the original 1903 building in Stirling Gardens, has run out of space. For many years, the court has extended its operations into a separate commercial tower on St Georges Terrace. The split of the accommodation across two sites is inefficient for listings and day-to-day operations of the court. A number of the courtrooms in the 1903 Supreme Court building have been retrofitted in unsuitable spaces to address a lack of courtroom facilities as they have arisen in the past. These courtrooms generally present poorly with  ad hoc finishes, fixtures and fittings. They lack the sense of order and dignity that is expected on entry to a courtroom. There are currently insufficient mediation suites to accommodate the current move towards settling matters prior to trial. I recognise the need to start planning to improve the lot of the Supreme Court. The task for now is to find a solution that will see the Supreme Court accommodated, preferably at a single site, for the next half century or more. Consultation has begun and a strong business case has already been provided to Treasury. The Government has provided more than $300,000 for more detailed planning for a solution. The quest for adequate and purpose-built facilities – and enough of them – is a  major ongoing investment for WA. The Government is on track to achieve them in the coming years. The legal fraternity can be assured that facilities for all parties are improving and continually under review. 
 
   Antoinette Kennedy - Chief Judge District Court of Western Australia
Retirement of Kevin James Hammond Kevin James Hammond
was born in 1936 and educated at Sacred Heart Convent and Christian Brothers High School, Highgate and then at the University of Western Australia. He was in the first intake of residents at St Thomas More College. Prior to that he had completed National Service as was the requirement at that time. He completed his articles with Howard Solomon at Morris Crawcour & Solomon in Perth, was employed for a period of time in Perth and then moved to practice in Northam, York and Central Districts. In June 1962 he became a partner at Mayberry Hammond & Co, Northam and remained there until June 1978. It was obvious that Kevin looked on his period of time in Northam with enormous affection. He often referred to himself as “just a country practitioner” and it was clear that while you could take the boy out of the country, you could not take the country out of the boy.
  During the time he was a member of this Court his one wish was to have the time off to go to the Northam Cup but he only managed it on one occasion as far as I can recall. During his time in Northam he had been firstly a Committee Member of the Northam Race Club and then President from 1976 to 1978. He subsequently became a joint Patron of the Race Club. Country practice was obviously fascinating even on the occasion when he was almost arrested for murder. He was contacted at his office and advised that there was regrettably a dead body at the farm of a client. He went to the property and sure enough, there was. He arranged for the clients to be legally represented and immediately contacted the police. When the police officer arrived, Kevin showed him the body whereupon the police officer turned immediately to him and said “Kevin James Hammond I must   caution you that you do not have to say anything but …”. The period in Northam was not only legally and personally satisfying for Kevin but he had articled clerks who went on either to be successful practitioners or to take up various positions on the Bench, including District Court Judge Peter Nisbet, Supreme Court Registrar Paul Johnson and Magistrate Brian Gluestein. In 1978 Kevin shifted to Perth and joined Lavan & Walsh where he remained until February 1982. Part of the motivation for the return to Perth was the education of the four daughters of himself and his wife, Derryn. Those four daughters are Kate, Sarah, Celia and Rosalind. Kate is a doctor, Sarah a teacher, Celia a lawyer and Rosalind an actress. Derryn, a gentle sophisticated woman, became the English Mistress at Saint Hilda’s. Derryn and Kevin met when they were both members of the University Dramatic Society and have a life-time interest in the arts and theatre. During this period he was a member of the Barristers’ Board, the first Chairman  of the Land Valuation Tribunal of WA and a member of the Committee of Inquiry into the Future Organisation of the Legal Profession in Western Australia. Kevin was appointed to the Bench of the District Court on 15 February 1982 and was appointed Chief Judge on 30 January 1995 and remained in that position until 31 December 2003. He was also President of the Crime Prevention Council of Western Australia from 1983 to 1984 and Chair of the Review Committee established in 1996 to review all aspects of remission and parole, which Committee was referred to as the “Hammond Committee”. It was the report of this Committee that led to very substantial amendments to the Sentencing Act. He was further a member of the Working Group on Criminal Trial Procedures established by the Standing Committee of Attorneys General, Melbourne and Sydney in 1999, a member of the Deliberative Forum on Criminal Trial Reform, Melbourne, 2000 and a member of the Advisory Board of the Crime Research Centre (UWA). He was an erudite and lively member of  the Court. Most new Judges during that time would attest to the fact that he had an uncanny knack of turning up just when you needed him. Just when a problem in a particular case became too difficult and there was nowhere to turn for assistance, Kevin would turn up with much commonsense and wise advice and was always willing to assist. Kevin has an enormously wide and varied range of friends in whom he takes great interest and about whom he gets great delight. He is also an inveterate attender of funerals, as only a good Irish Catholic of his generation can be. I often joke to him that he will have the biggest funeral in Western Australia not for anything he has achieved but because so many people will owe him an attendance at his funeral. On 1 January 2004 he capped a truly distinguished career of exemplary service to the community by becoming the Commissioner for Crime and Corruption and the results of that have been reported to all of you through the media in the last three years.
 
  The Hon Wayne Martin Chief Justice of Western Australia The State of Justice
The State of Justice 
The following is the inaugural Law Week address by the Chief Justice at a ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court. Law Week provides a valuable opportunity for the legal profession and the courts to better inform the public about the services we provide and the role we play within the community. The legal profession and the courts are the means by which the community obtains access to justice and both have a continuing obligation to do whatever we can to improve that access. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this right to justice. But there remains room for improvement. Access to justice can be improved in many different ways. One important way is the demystification of the law and its processes. Although significant progress is being made  in this area, the technical complexity of the law and the stylised form of language which we use in the courts can be the source of confusion and misunderstanding which can in turn lead to a lack of trust and confidence. We lawyers must try harder to use language which is comprehensible to ordinary Western Australians. Even language which appears to us to be innocuous and simple may be confusing. Take, for example, the instance in which a witness was asked by counsel whether their appearance in court was as a result of a subpoena. The witness answered that she would have come to court dressed the way she was anyway. Even attempts to put witnesses at their ease can fall flat – take for example, the Barrister who asked the witness to speak slowly and clearly, and tell what happened to the Judge, to receive the response, “Why – what happened to the Judge?”
  Although these examples are lighthearted and mundane, they illustrate a more significant point, which is that continued use of language which reinforces the traditional mystique and aura of the legal profession and the courts can be a source of confusion and therefore unhelpful.  
 
  1. Trailblazer Antoinette Kennedy retires in WA

    By Damien Carrick on Law Report

  2. Meet Antoinette Kennedy, the retiring chief judge of the WA District Court. She has strong views on Western Australia's tough law and order approach to crime; deep concerns about mandatory sentencing, anti-hoon laws and new stop-and-search powers. Her critics maintain she's too soft on offenders. But she reckons the politicians need to lift their game and start thinking big picture.

    Duration: 28min 58sec
    Broadcast: Tue 20 Apr 2010, 8:30am
     
    Guests

    Transcript

    Damien Carrick: Antoinette Kennedy recently stepped down as the chief judge of the WA District Court. She was the state's longest serving judge, and she's also a trailblazer: Antoinette Kennedy was WA's first female judge.

    As you're about to hear, she has some strong views about how state governments in WA address crime and sentencing issues.

    Antoinette Kennedy: It's becoming an increasing problem. The community has become more frightened of disorder than of tyranny, and the history of the law, and the history of Australia, shows us that in reality there's no reason to be more frightened of disorder than tyranny, and when you frighten people so that they are more frightened of disorder than of tyranny, they're likely to give up the rights that have been fought for since the 13th century, and they're likely to let politicians do whatever they please. And the politicians simply don't realise what they're doing; they're not malicious, they simply do not understand how far they are diverging from the British justice system, and I think the 19th century social commentator Walter Bagehot is reputed to have said something to the effect that the British are famous for inventing wonderful institutions which they themselves don't understand. And we've inherited those institutions and our politicians don't seem to understand them any better than the general community, and they've shown a complete lack of leadership.

    Damien Carrick: In what way are they showing a lack of leadership?

    Antoinette Kennedy: Well if the media, or any interest group, kicks up a stink, they never try to explain anything, they simply agree, and we now have for example in Western Australia mandatory sentencing legislation where there is a six-month sentence for assault occasioning bodily harm on a police officer. Now you've got to understand that the complaint about that is not simply that it's a six-month mandatory sentence, but that assault occasioning bodily harm means any bodily injury of such a nature as to interfere with health or comfort. And so the example that we've had in Western Australia is if a rose seller hits a policeman on the hand with a rose and a thorn goes into their hand, that is assault occasioning bodily harm. Now under the present legislation you could get six months, or you must get six months jail for that. So it's not only that it's mandatory, it's that it covers very trivial things, and of course the problem with that is that even the Commissioner of Police knows that that's a problem because he's now announced that not everyone will be charged.

    Our Commissioner of Police is a very decent, intelligent man, but he's just a man, and we're supposed to have the rule of law, and the law is not supposed to depend upon you encountering a nice policeman, and so it should not be up to him to decide 'I will use this law this time; I won't use it on some other occasion'.

    Damien Carrick: Look, I've got to put it to you, I mean these mandatory sentencing laws, I think they were brought in as of September last year, and it's a mandatory six-month jail sentence if you hit a policeman causing bodily harm. I mean these laws came in, as I understand it, as a response to an increase in the number of assaults against people like police and ambos, and the AG has referred to instances of people not going to prison when these sorts of people sustained injuries, such as broken noses or chipped teeth.

    Antoinette Kennedy: You would need the particular case, and you would need to know about the particular case. It's very rare for someone to do a serious assault to a police officer in Western Australia and not go to prison. And you just can't look at an individual case without digging down into the actual details to find out why that is the case, and even if that were the case, then they should have made it for something a bit more serious than assault occasioning bodily harm, so that we now have a situation where even the Commissioner of Police knows he's got more power than he wanted, and is saying, 'I'll only use it in certain circumstances, so trust me, I'm a policeman, I'll only use it in certain circumstances', that's simply not acceptable, as decent as our Commissioner of Police is.

    Damien Carrick: Who do you fear will be affected by these laws?

    Antoinette Kennedy: We all know who'll be affected: Aboriginals and young people. Unless the Commissioner of Police goes on doing what he's doing and not use it.

    Damien Carrick: Because so far there have been no convictions.

    Antoinette Kennedy: There's been no convictions because they have not taken any action because they know that if the community realise how trivial it can be to get six months jail and cost the community $50,000 to keep someone in jail for six months, there will be an outcry about it. So they are waiting for the perfect case, and so they've being charged with assault, they're not being charged with assault occasioning bodily harm. And in fact in the early stages, a couple of people were charged with assault occasioning bodily harm and it turned out one of them was a person who'd escaped from a mental home, and they were the sort of things that people were going to end up with egg on their face, so they quickly dropped those charges to simple assault from assault occasioning bodily harm.

    Damien Carrick: You are also very worried about new stop and search laws in WA that are currently being considered. Now under these laws which have been proposed, what new powers would be given to police?

    Antoinette Kennedy: Well it means that they can stop and search anyone they like, anytime they like, without any suspicion or without the person having done anything suspicious. So that if your next-door neighbour's a policeman, if he doesn't like you, as you're going out your front gate he can stop and search you. Now they would say to me, 'Oh that's ridiculous, we wouldn't do that'. Well 'we' shouldn't have the power to do it. And that's all there is to it. Again the Commissioner of Police is saying, 'Look, we'll only use it in certain circumstances', and again, it is in that case since he's such a decent human being, why don't we just say the Commissioner of Police can do whatever he like because we know he's such a nice man, he won't do anything unreasonable.

    Damien Carrick: You also have very strong views on WA's anti-hoon laws, which recently entangled an affluent Perth doctor, a Dr Patrick Nugawela. Tell me what are those anti-hoon laws and what happened to Dr Nugawela?

    Antoinette Kennedy: I have to say that I haven't taken, until Dr Nugawela's case, I hadn't taken a lot of interest in the hoon laws because they're not dealt with by the District Court, they're dealt with by the Magistrate's Court, and I don't object to the police having the power to seize motor vehicles in certain circumstances. But again, it turned out that it was far too wide. Poor old Dr Nugawela, obviously is a very hard-working doctor and he bought himself a Lamborghini and he put it in to the mechanic for the mechanic to fix it up and according the police, the mechanic was clocked doing some incredible speed which took him well within...

    Damien Carrick: 160 ks per hour I think.

    Antoinette Kennedy: That's right, within the hoon laws, which entitle them to seize the car. Now the doctor said, 'Well I've done nothing wrong, I didn't know he was going to do that and I certainly didn't give him permission to do that.' The relevant Minister dealt with that very poorly, in my view, because what he tried to do was to play the politics of envy, to more or less say, well look, who cares what happens to somebody who can afford a Lamborghini. Well it turned out a lot of West Australians did, because even though we can't afford a Lamborghini, this was simply not fair. And again, it was a situation which a politician I think learned a lesson, and the lesson was that it is not in every case that people are more frightened of disorder than they are of tyranny, and that was a small example of tyranny against that doctor, and the police had no way of giving him his car back, and if the mechanic hadn't paid the $900 fee, the doctor would have had to pay the $900 fee to get his car back, and the car was impounded I think for 28 days.

    Antoinette Kennedy: So you're saying this is an example of laws which are simply draconian and they leave no room for applying a commonsense justice fair outcome?

    Antoinette Kennedy: That's right, and no room for looking at individual circumstances. And there always are, I should say, individual circumstances where you need to be able to look at those circumstances and say, 'Is this fair in this case?' It may be fair in 98% of cases, but what about the other 2%? And we are in the business of making sure that all our citizens have justice, and we don't operate on the basis of, 'Bad luck, you got caught, even though you're innocent.'

    Damien Carrick: When it comes to law and order issues more generally, and sentencing more generally, do you think that locking people up, does that deter crime? Is it a successful strategy?

    Antoinette Kennedy: It is a deterrent. But it's not everything, and that is the difficulty that judges have, that the community put all their eggs in one basket and they think that the prime problem can be solved by heavier and heavier sentences, and they are asking too much of the criminal justice system as an instrument controlling human behaviour. The criminal justice system has a role, but it's not every role, and the story is told of two men downriver, and a body comes down the river and they pull the body out, and then more bodies keep coming down the river and they keep pulling them out, and finally, one of them says to the other, 'You stay here and do what you can and I'll go upstream and see what's happening.' Now as far as judges are concerned we are downstream pulling the bodies out of the river; what in God's name are the rest of you doing upstream?' And the fact is, you're doing nothing, and you're to put all the blame and all the responsibility on to us and it's stupid, quite frankly, stupid.

    Damien Carrick: So you're saying that there need to be alternative strategies, strategies up-river, to stem crime. What strategies might they be?

    Antoinette Kennedy: The first thing I'd like to say is that I don't think it's a judge's job to start talking about what the other strategies are. What you are really doing is deflecting attention from yourself and what you should be doing. But I'll give you some suggestions. The first thing is I frequently have young lawyers say to me, 'It was inevitable that my client would end up in the criminal justice system.' And when you look at the life and the childhood of that person, you know that that's right, it was inevitable that they would end up in the criminal justice system. If we know it's inevitable, why aren't we doing more about it? In Australia, we simply do not spend enough money on early childhood intervention. You can see people coming, and yet we are doing nothing about that, or very little about it at all. Now to think that you do nothing about that, or very little about it and then that somehow some judge can put that right and stop crime, is well, as I've already said, it's stupid.

    Damien Carrick: So why do you think governments have tougher and tougher laws and don't just...

    Antoinette Kennedy: Because it's cheap, or it used to be cheaper, now of course the cost of keeping someone in prison is $100,000 a year and people seem to think that that means that they are living in luxury conditions. The Inspector of Custodial Services in Western Australia has got some brilliant photographs of prisons that would show anyone that it is not a holiday camp, it is not luxury. That money, most of it, goes in guarding people.

    Damien Carrick: I'm speaking to Antoinette Kennedy, the recently-retired Chief Judge of the WA District Court. Antoinette Kennedy, so far we've been talking about law and order culture and you've been offering your views, your analysis and your criticism of politicians. But presumably there must also be a place to scrutinise and analyse the decisions of judges. Do you believe that the media gives you and other judges a fair go?

    Antoinette Kennedy: Not overall. We had a very bad time in Western Australia for a period of time, which is now passed, with our major daily newspaper, and they were only interested in criticising judges and they weren't interested in making sure that the community understood what the situation was. And I understand the problems that the media have, the media obviously, they've got to do things that people are interested in, and it's very immediate, but no-one has ever asked what the community is doing about the crime problem, and there is this constant attempt to put all your eggs in one basket and to think that somehow, judges have the answer to the crime problem and we're flatly refusing to use it. Now I live in this community, I have family and property in this community, of course I care what happens to the community. Of course I care about the victims of crime, it's positively insulting and hurtful to suggest that I am a person who doesn't care about crime, and the victims of crime, and that if I'm not a paedophile myself, I'm a person who supports, encourages and promotes paedophilia, and it's arrant nonsense.

    Damien Carrick: Well look let's talk about—as much as you're comfortable—about some of the controversial decisions. I mean like many judges, some of your sentences have attracted huge criticism from the media, and even sometimes from the politicians, and I think it was back in 2006 there was a lot of media coverage of your decision to release a child sex offender back into the community on a two-year suspended sentence. This was the case of Kevin James Lilly. Can you tell me about that case and about your decision-making in that case?

    Antoinette Kennedy: Yes, certainly. The first thing I'd say about any case is that what you have to realise is that each side has a right of appeal, and no-one can stop them from that. Within 21 days, they can lodge an appeal and the whole matter can be looked at again by the Court of Appeal. The prosecution and the defence can each lodge an appeal and it will be looked at again by three people. So they make that decision and that, as an aside, is a reason why judges don't defend themselves, and that's the other thing that really irritates judges, and that's why it's so unusual for me to speak out now, because of course judges don't defend themselves, and the media know that, and particularly in Western Australia for a period of time The West Australian used it, that we are soft targets and by that I mean we don't answer criticism, at all, and so the community may well think that we're agreeing with the criticism, or that there is no answer. But that's not so, we simply don't answer because it interferes with people's rights of appeal, and the appeal has to be on the basis of what the judge has said in open court.

    Damien Carrick: Well Kevin James Lilly, who was he and why did you reach a decision to give him a two-year suspended sentence?

    Antoinette Kennedy: Because he was a person who hadn't been in any trouble before. He was a middle-aged man who'd had a number of life problems and had become an alcoholic, and he had a very nice wife and family, and he did not go out looking for anyone, he sat in his back shed every day and got drunk. And the little girls from down the street used to come to his back shed, and he was very, very drunk, and he used to entertain them, apparently, I mean as horrible as it is, to entertain them, display himself, and mainly there was very minor, very minor, touching. If there had been proper touching, he would have gone to jail, but it was minor touching and he was displaying himself and the little girls, one of them on one occasion said to him, 'You're very naughty', and he said in his drunken state, 'If you don't like it, this is my house, go home.' So he'd regressed, according to the psychologist, so he was like a six-year-old himself.

    And so the little girls came to his home, and they came back on a number of occasions. Now no-one's suggesting that this is not serious. That's a given. This is a very serious matter. By the time it came to sentence this man, who'd never been in any trouble before, as far as I can remember, you see I don't keep these things in my head, and so he must have had either a very clean record, or must not have been in trouble for many years, and my recollection is that he'd worked very hard and then given up work for some reason. By the time he came before me, he was stone cold sober and in counselling. Now the idea that we would pay $100,000 to put that man in jail, where at that stage there were no programs. When he was out, he was sober, he had his wife and family's support, and he was in a program ; it simply seemed to me to be inappropriate use of community funds. And I stress, that so far as him touching those children is concerned, it was very, very minor.

    Damien Carrick: At the time one of the newspapers, I think it was The Sunday Times in WA said, 'Isn't it time we stopped using alcohol as an excuse? In the case of Kevin James Lilly it's one of the worst excuses imaginable, but it was enough for District Court Judge Antoinette Kennedy.' And the journalist described this as 'the ridiculous justification', and a restraining order preventing Lilly from going within 100 metres of his victims as 'almost farcical'. And I think the Opposition leader at the time, or an Opposition politician at the time, labelled the sentence, 'woefully inadequate', and 'it highlights the enormous gulf between the soft sentences handed out by the court and the punishments demanded by the community for these types of offences.'

    Well what do you make of those comments?

    Antoinette Kennedy: Well I just think it's ridiculous. The community generally are not talking about offences where there is no touching, and they're not talking about offences where the offender is in his own back garden. He does not go out looking for anyone, he's just sitting there, drunk, that's all he's doing. He's sitting there drunk and the little girls come around so he displays himself to them. Now I gave him a suspended term of imprisonment. I didn't say to him, 'You're a wonderful human being, here's a gold medal,' I gave him a two-year suspended term. That meant that if he didn't do the program that I ordered him to do, he would serve the two years jail. It meant that if he got into any more trouble, he would not only be sentenced for what he did, but he would serve the two years. Now the community's interest was in having him rehabilitated, and not set backward as a term of imprisonment would, and as I say, there were very few programs in the prison. That's improved a bit now, but there were very few programs in the prison at that time.

    Now I think it's unrealistic in those circumstances, for the community to pay over $100,000 to warehouse that man for at least 12 months without probably any program in those circumstances. Now some people may disagree, and I know people say, 'We don't care what it costs', well that's OK. If you don't care what it costs, we'll shut down the primary school in your area, and we'll use that money for the jails. Because it's silly to say you don't care what it costs, of course you care what it costs, if it costs you schools and hospital beds, you do care.

    Damien Carrick: Standing in the shoes of, say, the family of the victims, or the survivors, I mean they might say, 'Well the touching may well be classed as somehow minor, but that might not mean that the effect on the young people, the children, was minor, and we need as a community to respond to those sorts of crimes, and that's what they are, with a very, very firm hand.'

    Antoinette Kennedy: Oh, in Western Australia paedophiles go to jail for very, very long periods of time. No-one should be under any illusion about that. But most of it is not reported, and it's not reported for the simple reason most of it is in the family, and therefore the media can't name and shame the offender.

    Damien Carrick: Because they would identify the survivor or the victim?

    Antoinette Kennedy: That's right. And so the community is unaware of the real paedophilia problem in the community, which is one of the greatest failings of the media of all time. I'm not asking them to publish every one of those, because I know that would be very boring if they said, 'Today a stepfather, today a father, today whatever, was sentenced to 6, 10, 12 years jail.' But it would be nice if they pointed out that 95% of paedophiles are heterosexual, adult males, who are not priests or schoolteachers. But there is another point I want to make to you about something you said, and about the demands of victims.

    The demands of victims are very important, but there is a view abroad that sentencing is simply between the victim and the offender. Now if that were so, all we would need to do is to identify the offender and then say to the victim, 'You can do whatever you like to the offender. As a judge, the offender has done nothing to me, so I'm not particularly angry with him, but he certainly is the offender and you can do whatever you like to him.' And that would be what we would do if sentencing were simply between the victim and the offender. But sentencing is not simply between the victim and the offender, sentencing is between the victim, the offender and the whole community. Now in the end, we must do what is in the interests of the whole community.

    Now it's understandable, and if I were a victim, I may want somebody smeared with jam and tied to an ant-heap. I may want them killed, but that is not in the interests of the whole community and I'm not decrying what victims want and how emotional they are and how it's affected their lives, but the reality is the world goes on, and the community goes on and sentencing has to take into account not just the rights of the victim, but the rights of the whole community and the fact that life goes on and you must do what is in the interests of the whole community, and it is rarely in the interests of the whole community that the offender be destroyed, and there are many victims who would want the offender destroyed, and as I say, I understand it, but it just cannot be.

    Damien Carrick: The sometimes intense controversy that surrounded some of your sentences, and those of your fellow-judges, prompted the Chief Justice of WA, Wayne Martin, I think it was in December 2006, to give a very direct, a very in-your-face speech where he attacked the media as giving 'a demonstrably false impression that judges are lenient when it comes to sentencing'. But he also gave some statistics around the rate of imprisonment in WA What are the rates of imprisonment in WA?

    Antoinette Kennedy: Western Australia has the highest rate of imprisonment of any state in the country. The highest rate of imprisonment. But nothing pleases some people who want to make law and order the issue, and so it cannot possibly be the case that we're not locking up enough people. Per 100,000 of population, we are locking up more people than any other state in the country.

    Damien Carrick: Now changing focus, there are now many women at the top of the profession, but that certainly wasn't the case when you started out. I think in your final year of law school you were interviewed, and in an article you said, 'Oh no, there's no discrimination; women are as good as men', but that that really wasn't the case when you said that.

    Antoinette Kennedy: It was rubbish. I've been reminded of that on a number of occasions. It was absolute rubbish, but you see I had completed my law degree, and no-one had been rude to me, so I thought in my naiveté, well that must mean there's no discrimination. I mean there were no Supreme Court or District Court judges, no magistrates, no registrars, no masters, no prosecutors, no partners in big firms who were women, and there was a tendency to either pat women on the head or regard them as eccentrics. There have been huge improvements, obviously. But there were huge difficulties.

    Damien Carrick: What was your experience like in your early years of practice?

    Antoinette Kennedy: No-one's rude to you. You see if they're rude to you, it would be a lot easier to deal with. They're not rude to you, they just don't take any notice of anything you say. And I can remember when I first realised this, I'd been out for about three or four years, and I was appearing before a magistrate, and I said something which to me was perfectly sensible, and my opposition, who was a male, said something that I thought was really stupid, and the magistrate hung on every word he said, and I'm thinking to myself, 'Listen sport, he was a dork at law school, he's still a dork. Why are you listening to him and not me? Why am I being patted on the head?' and it was slowly that I realised that the law has a very male way of thinking, and if you don't think in that way, then you must be wrong, not different, wrong, and that is the problem that women still have, although it's lessening as time goes on. And of course I was the first woman judge in Western Australia and that was not necessarily the most popular thing to be.

    Damien Carrick: What was the reaction from other judges and from members of the profession?

    Antoinette Kennedy: Well on my own court they weren't too bad actually. When I say—I don't like to go into the details, it's all such a long time ago—the only thing I like to say is really, the judges on my own court were not my major problem, and it came as a bit of a surprise to discover that I was not a male clone, I think, and they really expected that I would just behave like a male in drag. Now unfortunately, women don't behave like men in drag, women are different. It's not that we're better, and as I said I think recently, Chairman Mao said women hold up half the sky. We're not better, but we do have different approach and you need the balance of both men and women. You don't want just men or just women, you need the balance of both.

    Damien Carrick: You're stepping down with a sense of accomplishment and a sense of having contributed, but what about— are there things that you wish you could have achieved? What still remains to be done?

    Antoinette Kennedy: It's this attitude to sentencing. You know, I do live in this community, I have people that I love in this community, I do want this community to be more crime-free, and I do know that we're going in the wrong direction, and that I thought might improve over the 25 years, but it hasn't improved over the 25 years. And this is not just a matter of my ego, you know, 'judges don't like to be criticised'. This is a matter of really caring about what happens in my community, and really seeing that we're doing the wrong thing, and this is not the answer to the crime problem, just locking people up for longer and longer periods of time. It's got nothing to do with being sympathetic to offenders, or not sympathetic to victims. My concern is for the whole community and that's the thing where we really appear to have gone backward.

    Damien Carrick: Chief Judge Antoinette Kennedy, a great pleasure talking to you. It's been a fascinating conversation.

    Antoinette Kennedy: Thank you very much.

    Damien Carrick: That's the Law Report for this week. Thanks to producer Erica Vowles.

    Credits

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New Chief Judge Julie Ann Wager appointed to head WA’s District Court
 

The District Court of Western Australia was established on 1 April 1970.  While the prevailing judicial system of the Supreme Court, the Local Courts and Courts of Petty Sessions had been adequate, the rapid expansion of Western Australia’s population required the establishment of an intermediate system of courts. Another Court was also needed to relieve pressure and avoid a backlog of cases in the other courts, especially the Supreme Court.

The District Court of Western Australia was therefore established with both criminal and civil jurisdiction, to provide a flexible framework to accommodate the needs of Western Australia in the administration of justice.

In 1971 civil trials were temporarily held in the Public Trust building behind St George’s Cathedral. Criminal trials continued to be heard in the Supreme Court. From April 1982 the District Court was relocated to the Central Law Courts at 30 St George’s Terrace allowing both criminal and civil cases to be heard in the one building.

In 1999, due to continued growth in the Court’s caseload, the District Court took possession of four additional criminal courtrooms created in the May Holman Centre adjacent to the Central Law Courts.  The District Court was based in Central Law Courts and the May Holman Centre until June 2008 when it relocated to its current, purpose-built court house at 500 Hay Street, Perth.

https://www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/50-years-of-justice-the-district-court-of-western-australia

Doing Right to All - 50 years of justice at the District Court of Western Australia

New Chief Judge appointed to head WA’s District Court

 
 
 
Hon John Quigley LLB JP MLA

Attorney General; Minister for Electoral Affairs

 
\Friday, 28 February 2020
 
 
 
  • Her Honour Judge Julie Wager appointed new Chief Judge of WA District Court
  • Judge Wager will replace Chief Judge Kevin Sleight who retires on May 1
  • District Court Judge Hylton Quail appointed new President of the Children's Court of Western Australia, replacing Judge Wager 

Attorney General John Quigley is pleased to announce the appointment of Her Honour Judge Julie Wager as the new Chief Judge of the District Court of Western Australia.

 

Her Honour - a past president of the Criminal Lawyers Association of WA - replaces Chief Judge Kevin Sleight who retires on May 1. Mr Quigley paid tribute to Chief Judge Sleight's longstanding and exemplary service to the Court.

 

Mr Quigley said Judge Wager's extensive experience as a judicial officer, coupled with her renowned compassion and empathy, made her an excellent choice for the role.

Judge Wager was a criminal lawyer for 14 years before being appointed as the inaugural Magistrate of the WA Drug Court in 2000. She was appointed to the District Court in 2005 and has been President of the Children's Court since March 2018.

Her Honour becomes the second woman to be appointed Chief Judge of the WA District Court and is one of 12 female District Court judges in the State.

Mr Quigley said Judge Wager is highly respected within Western Australia's legal circles and has a reputation for fairness.

He is also pleased to announce the appointment of District Court Judge, His Honour Hylton Quail, as the new President of the Children's Court of Western Australia.

Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:

"I am delighted to announce the appointment of Judge Wager to the role of WA's Chief Judge of the District Court. Her Honour was a formidable advocate at law and has been an outstanding Magistrate, Judge and President of the Children's Court.

"Judge Wager is a respected member of the WA legal profession and brings to her new role 15 years' experience on the bench, coupled with a wealth of knowledge, empathy and compassion from her years as a criminal lawyer.

"Judge Wager's outstanding legal skills are complemented by her empathy and compassion.

"I would like to extend my appreciation to retiring Chief Judge Kevin Sleight and to acknowledge his significant contribution to the administration of justice in WA since his appointment to the bench in 2005.

"His Honour oversaw the updating of a number of practice directions for the Court and held a number of educative roles, particularly in the area of making proceedings less challenging for child witnesses. I thank His Honour, on behalf of the WA Government.

 

"Judge Quail brings nearly 30 years of experience to the Children's Court and a demonstrated commitment to the administration of criminal law in Western Australia.

"His Honour has presided over the Children's Court in the past as the Acting President when the President has been on leave and has a good knowledge of the jurisdiction, practices and procedures of the Court. His Honour will take up his new position on March 15, 2020 for a term of two years."

Attorney General's office - 6552 6800

 

50 years of justice at the District Court of Western Australia

 
 
The legal community marked 50 years of the District Court of Western Australia on Saturday night with a gala dinner organised by the Law Society of WA.

 

https://www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/50-years-of-justice-the-district-court-of-western-australia

 

The legal community has recognised the eminent role of the District Court of Western Australia with a celebration of its 50th anniversary.

A gala dinner hosted by the Law Society of Western Australia to mark the milestone had been postponed for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

District Court Chief Judge Julie Wager spoke on behalf of the Court at the February 27 event, also attended by her immediate predecessor, Judge Kevin Sleight.

Since its founding in 1970 with four judges in response to a growing population, the District Court has played a crucial role in the State's justice system.

Now with 32 judges, the court conducts hundreds of trials each year across the breadth of Western Australia.

"It's occupied that middle range section of the criminal world, shall we say, between the Supreme Court and the Magistrates' Court and that has been growing like nothing else," former Chief Judge Kevin Hammond says in a video commemorating the anniversary.

"It's where the majority of work lies – and the District Court has concentrated on that area," he says.

Another former Chief Judge, Antoinette Kennedy, became the State's first woman judge when she joined the District Court in 1985.

"It was seven years before another woman was appointed, and then more women were appointed, and it simply changes the atmosphere," Her Honour says.

It was during her term as Chief Judge that the District Court building was planned and constructed, opening in 2008.

"The struggle to get the building, then to get it called the District Court was a substantial struggle."

Judges interviewed agreed that one constant in the Court's history has been the quality of the personnel.

"The Court is a very collegiate one and I'm very fortunate that so many very wise and experienced judges have been so willing to assist and listen and share their knowledge," Judge Kate Glancy says.

Her Honour Judge Kennedy says: "It wasn't our job to be popular, it was our job to do justice according to law. And I believe the calibre of people we attracted did that."

Page reviewed 30 March 2021

 

 
I am pleased to present the 2017 Annual Review of
the District Court of Western Australia.
Kevin Sleight Chief Judge, District Court of Western Australia
 
 
 
 I am pleased to present the 2017 Annual Review of the District Court of Western Australia.
 
 The Criminal Jurisdiction The total number of criminal matters committed to the District Court for trial and sentence in 2017 was 2,602, an increase of 4% over the past 12 months and an increase of 31.3% over five years. As at the end of 2017 there were 1,934 cases on hand (that is, waiting to be dealt with). This is an increase of 14.6% on the number of cases on hand at the end of 2016. Over five years the number of cases on hand has increased by 91.1%.
  
  Of particular concern, is the increase in the number of persons waiting to be sentenced at any one time. As at the end of 2017 the number of people waiting to be sentenced was 981. Many of these people had been remanded in custody awaiting sentence. The median delay in sentencing increased from 24 weeks in 2016 to 26 in 2017 (an increase of 18.2%). The increase over five years has been 73.3%. In 2017 the Court conducted 498 criminal trials compared with 507 in the previous year. However, the complexity and length of trials has increased. In 2017 there were 67 trials of six days or more compared with 49 in the previous year (an increase of 36.7%). In 2017 there was a substantial increase in directions hearings. The main reason for the increase is the number of cases where the State applies under section 31A of the Evidence Act 1906 (WA) to lead propensity evidence at an accused’s trial. In 2017 there were 359 directions hearings compared with 275 in 2016 (an increase of 30.5%). Over five years the increase has been 71%. These directions hearings place a substantial demand upon judicial resources. 
 
The Civil Jurisdiction
 
 In 2017 there were 5,336 civil lodgments, a slight decrease from 2016 when there were 5,370 civil lodgments. However over a five year period the number of lodgments has increased by 13%. In 2017 the number of civil matters finalised was 5,136, again a slight decrease on 2016 when 5,177 were finalised. However, over a five year period the finalisation number has increased by 8.7%. There were 47 civil trials conducted in 2017 compared with 49 in 2016. 
 
Child Witnesses
 
The District Court is conducting an increasing number of trials of sexual offences which involve young children giving evidence. Many of these children are very young – some as young as four or five years of age. These children are being asked to give evidence in an adult world in which the children are potentially seriously disadvantaged in giving their evidence. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has recognised this disadvantage and has recommended in its Criminal Justice Report that State and Territory governments establish an intermediary scheme similar to that in operation in England and Wales. The intermediary scheme involves children and other vulnerable witnesses being assessed by an appropriately qualified person (an intermediary) who provides to the Court a written assessment as to the communication skills of the witness. Most often the intermediary is a qualified speech therapist. Prior to the    witness giving evidence in court, the Court conducts a ground rules hearing with counsel at which the communication assessment report is discussed and the Court establishes ground rules or guidance for counsel in relation to the manner in which the witness is to be questioned. The intermediary also assists the Judge during the taking of the evidence by giving advice concerning the level of understanding of the child of questions asked. The scheme has been highly successful in England and Wales and is currently being piloted in New South Wales. A steering committee has been established in Western Australia, chaired by me, which will make recommendations to the Western Australian Government as to the implementation of such a scheme in Western Australia. It is hoped that by the end of 2018 an intermediary scheme will be operational in the District Court. The Royal Commission has also recommended that the evidence of all children and other vulnerable witnesses in sex abuse cases be pre-recorded prior to trial. In 2017 the Court conducted 103 hearings pre-recording the evidence of children and vulnerable witnesses. This compares with 45 such hearings in 2013, an increase of 220%. This reflects the increase in sexual abuse cases and a more liberal approach taken by the Court as to the circumstances when an order will be made to pre-record the evidence of a child or vulnerable witness.
 
  Judicial Workload 
 
The number of hearings and the increase in the length and complexity of trials, particularly in the criminal jurisdiction, have created a substantial increase in the workload of the Judges of the Court. Over a five year period the aggregate annual sitting time has increased by 17.8%. This workload is unsustainable. This increase in sitting times does not take into account the increase in the time spent out of court preparing for trials, preparing for sentencing and writing decisions. An interesting statistic which demonstrates the increase in the workload of Judges out of court relates to consent orders. In the criminal jurisdiction in 2013 the number of consent orders made was nine. In 2017 the number of consent orders made was 839. To address the workload issues, arrangements were made in 2017 to provide Judges with additional time out of court.
 
  Additional Resources
 
 In 2017 the Western Australian Government recognised the workload of the District Court and agreed to provide an additional two Judges. These two additional Judges were commissioned in December 2017 and commenced sitting in January 2018.  
  I express my appreciation to the Western Australian Government for recognising the substantial increases in the workload of the District Court over a number of years. The provision of additional Judges will enable the Court to tackle the backlog of criminal cases and also relieve the workload on the Judges.
 
  Retirement and Movements of Judicial Officers
 
 On 9 October 2017 his Honour Judge David Parry ceased sitting in the District Court and returned to the State Administrative Tribunal. 
 
On the same date her Honour Judge Belinda Lonsdale commenced as a Judge of the District Court, replacing Judge Parry as a Judge sitting in the District Court.
 
 On 31 December 2017 her Honour Judge Anette Schoombee retired from the District Court. I thank Judge Schoombee for her time on the Court. 
 
Her Honour Judge Fiona Vernon replaced Judge Schoombee as from 9 January 2018. As mentioned earlier the Western Australian Government has appointed two additional Judges in response to the workload of the Court.
 
 The appointment of these two new Judges was announced in December 2017 and took effect from 9 January 2018. The two new Judges appointed were his Honour Judge Hylton Quail and her Honour Judge Kathleen Glancy. 
 
On 5 July 2017 Registrar Lyn Wallace retired. Registrar Wallace had been a Registrar of the Court for excess of 30 years. I wish to acknowledge and thank her for her lengthy service to the District Court.  
 
  Contributions to the Court I have already mentioned the substantial increase in the workload upon the Judges. However, that increase in workload is not confined to the Judges. It has also been experienced by the Registrars and all of the court staff. I wish to acknowledge and thank everyone for their hard work. It provides the foundation for the Court providing justice to persons appearing before the Court. Because of the increase in the workload of the Court, the Executive Manager Su Owen, and other managers within the registry have undertaken a major review of the internal structure of the registry and, in 2018, a restructuring project will be implemented which is hoped will provide greater efficiencies. Finally, I wish to acknowledge the Judges, Registrars and staff who sit on the numerous internal and external committees which enable the Court to conduct its business efficiently. 
 
Kevin Sleight Chief Judge, District Court of Western Australia  
  
  The District Court of Western Australia at a Glance
 
  Our 2017 achievements
• The increase in the criminal workload continued with the median time to criminal trial for matters committed to the Court increasing to 35 weeks (an increase of 3% on top of the 9.7% on the previous year). The median time to sentence for matters committed to the Court increased to 26 weeks; an increase of 18.2% on top of the 22.2% on the previous year). • Used video-conferencing facilities to prisons to deal with 740 persons in custody which equated to approximately 245 hours of courtroom usage. This results in savings in the Department of Justice – Corrective Services’ costs of transportation and saves persons in custody from the inconvenience of unnecessary trips to court. • Continued to finalise 70% of all new civil cases within 12 months of lodgment. • Continued the implementation of eFile processes for all new civil cases. 
   
  Our 2018 priorities
  • Reducing median time to sentence. • Mandating eLodgment in the civil jurisdiction through the eLodgment portal for all legal professionals and embedding the court user, procedural and process changes necessary to support its success. • Implement the new structure for District Court administration to support the changing work environment of the Court
  
  Our jurisdiction
 
  Criminal: All matters that must be tried before a jury, or judge alone, except those for which the maximum term of imprisonment that can be imposed is a life sentence; although, in 2017, the District Court of Western Australia Act 1969 was amended to extend the jurisdiction of the District Court to impose a sentence of life imprisonment for a serious methylamphetamine crime. Civil: General claims for liquidated sums, debt or damages up to $750,000 and unlimited jurisdiction for all personal injury claims. Appellate: Appeals from: • Magistrates exercising civil jurisdiction; • Criminal Injuries Compensation Assessors; and • Arbitrators under Part XI of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.
 
  Our areas of operation
   Perth Albany 389km from Perth Broome 1664km Bunbury 155km Busselton 193km Carnarvon 814km Derby 1770km Esperance 592km Geraldton 370km Kalgoorlie 544km Karratha 1275km Kununurra 2214km South Hedland 1304km
 
  Our workload
  • 467 criminal trials including 99 circuit trials • 1,253 people committed for trial from Magistrates Court • 1,345 people committed for sentence from Magistrates Court • 47 civil trials • 4,774 new actions commenced by writ • 119 appeals determined • 2,134 civil mediations and pre-trial conferences
 
  Our people
  • 28 judges (4 serving in other jurisdictions) • 5 registrars • 36.8 court administration staff • 53 judicial support staff
  
  Our budget
  An amount of $23.3M
 
  OUR JUDGES
  The following were the Judges of the Court as at 31 December 2017: Chief Judge His Honour Judge Kevin Frederick Sleight Judges His Honour Judge Denis John Reynolds His Honour Judge Philip Richard Eaton His Honour Judge Philip Pierre McCann Her Honour Judge Julie Anne Wager His Honour Judge Andrew Steven Stavrianou Her Honour Judge Troy Denise Sweeney SC His Honour Judge Bruce James Hamilton Goetze His Honour Judge Michael John Bowden Her Honour Judge Anette Margret Ilse Schoombee His Honour Judge Christopher Peter Stevenson His Honour Judge Stephen George Scott Her Honour Judge Felicity Clare Earls Davis His Honour Judge Patrick Brian O’Neal His Honour Judge Simon Elliot Stone His Honour Judge John Gerard Staude His Honour Judge Ronald Edward Birmingham QC His Honour Judge Anthony Samuel Derrick SC His Honour Judge Timothy Sharp Her Honour Judge Audrey Gillian Braddock SC His Honour Judge David Ronald Parry His Honour Judge Robert Enos Cock QC His Honour Judge Mark Edward Herron Her Honour Judge Vicki Laura Stewart His Honour Judge Laurence Mark Levy SC Her Honour Judge Linda Petrusa SC His Honour Judge Michael John Gething His Honour Judge Alan Laurence Troy Her Honour Judge Belinda Jane Lonsdale
  
  Other appointments held by Judges of the District Court of Western Australia The following District Court Judges are not available to the Court as they are engaged for the appointment indicated below: His Honour Judge DJ Reynolds President, Children’s Court of WA His Honour Judge T Sharp Deputy President, State Administrative Tribunal His Honour Judge DR Parry Deputy President, State Administrative Tribunal His Honour Judge RE Cock QC Chairperson, Prisoners Review Board Judicial retirements since December 2016 Her Honour Judge Anette Margret Ilse Schoombee retired on 31 December 2017. Judicial appointments since December 2016 Her Honour Judge Belinda Jane Lonsdale was appointed on 9 October 2017. Judicial movements since December 2016 His Honour Judge David Ronald Parry returned to the State Administrative Tribunal as Deputy President on 9 October 2017. Registrars as at 31 December 2017 Principal Registrar Shane Melville Registrar George Augustus Kingsley Deputy Registrar Simon Peter Harman Deputy Registrar Richard John Hewitt Deputy Registrar Jacquie Kubacz Registrar retirements since December 2016 Registrar Lyn Wallace retired on 5 July 2017.
 
Criminal jurisdiction 
 
  The Court deals with all serious criminal offences that must be tried before a judge and jury, or a judge sitting alone, except those for which the maximum term of imprisonment that can be imposed is life imprisonment. However, in 2017, the District Court of Western Australia Act 1969 and the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 were amended to extend the jurisdiction of the District Court to impose a sentence of life imprisonment for a serious methylamphetamine crime, including attempts to commit and conspiracy to commit such crimes.
The Court deals with all serious criminal offences that must be tried before a judge and jury, or a judge sitting alone, except those for which the maximum term of imprisonment that can be imposed is life imprisonment. However, in 2017, the District Court of Western Australia Act 1969 and the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 were amended to extend the jurisdiction of the District Court to impose a sentence of life imprisonment for a serious methylamphetamine crime, including attempts to commit and conspiracy to commit such crimes. 
FINALISATIONS 
There were 2,379 criminal matters finalised in 2017, 131 (6%) more than the 2,248 in 2016. A greater number of matters were lodged (2,598) than were finalised (2,379) which resulted in the Court achieving a clearance index of 91.6%, a slight increase on the clearance index of 90% achieved in 2016. The majority of the Court’s judicial resource is concentrated in the criminal jurisdiction of the Court, undertaking activities associated with the conduct of criminal trials. A total of 923 criminal matters were listed for trial statewide, similar to the 929 listed last year. Of these matters 467 proceeded, being 51% of the matters listed and 2% (9) more than the 458 conducted in 2016. The major reason for trials not proceeding when listed are late pleas of guilty, discontinuances, or adjournments. It is the Court’s practice to list more matters in a month than can actually be heard. This enables the Court to compensate for the high rate of trials that don’t proceed for the reasons previously mentioned. Listing in this manner ensures the optimisation of judicial resources and the attendance of jurors is not wasted. The average length of all trials state-wide is 4.09 days, 0.25 (6%) higher than the 3.84 days in 2016. The average length of the 368 criminal trials conducted in Perth during 2017 was 4.31 days, 0.37 (9.6%) higher than the 3.93 days in 2016.     
 
  In 2017, there were 137 trials conducted state-wide where the trial duration was 5 days or greater, 30 more than 2016. Accommodating lengthy trials can be resource intensive for the Court, with additional time being taken up with the case management of the many issues that arise in the period leading up to trial. Graph 6 illustrates the Court’s median delay to criminal trial since 2013, with the 12 month moving average recorded as 35 weeks in December 2017. Median trial delay measures the period in which an accused person waits for their first trial date in the District Court, following committal by the Magistrates Court. The criminal trial delay target is 32 weeks. The increase above target to 34 weeks in 2016 and 35 weeks in 2017 is primarily due to the growth in committals for trial.
 
SENTENCING 
Of the 2,379 accused matters finalised in 2017, 1,892 resulted in a sentence being handed down. This is an increase of 126, or 7.1%, when compared with the 2016 figures of 1,766 being sentenced. An accused person, who pleads guilty to an indictable offence/s in the Magistrates Court and is committed to the District Court for sentence, can expect to appear at a sentence mention hearing around eight weeks after the date of their committal. An appearance at a sentence mention hearing is before a Registrar who ensures that the prosecutor has filed an indictment, that a pre-sentence report is available if required (or is in the process of being prepared) and that in all other respects the matter is ready to proceed to a sentencing hearing. 
 
Sentencing matters are listed in dedicated lists before a Judge on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays of each week. The Court’s median delay to sentence is illustrated in Graph 7. It is the measurement in weeks between the date of committal from the Magistrates Court and the first planned sentencing hearing in the District Court. The median delay for 2017 is 26 weeks, four weeks more than in December 2016. 
 
  MATTERS ON HAND
   There are 1,931 criminal matters on hand, 243 (14%) more than the 1,688 in 2016. This increase is primarily due to the increase in lodgments as explained earlier. Of the matters on hand as at 31 December 2017, 90% were less than or equal to 12 months in age, similar to the previous year.
 
  THE DISTRICT COURT ON CIRCUIT
 The District Court is committed to the delivery of fair, equitable and accessible justice services for all citizens of Western Australia. Therefore, in addition to the main registry of the Court which is located within the Perth central business district, the Court conducts criminal circuits to the regional locations of Albany, Broome, Bunbury, Busselton, Carnarvon, Derby, Esperance, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Kununurra and South Hedland. Court facilities at these locations vary as to their suitability for the conduct of criminal trials by a judge and jury. Regional court buildings are regularly monitored on behalf of the Department of Justice, as to their utility, by resident staff of the Magistrates Court. The assistance provided by Magistrates Court staff to Judges and their personal staff when on circuit throughout the State is acknowledged and appreciated by the District Court.  
      The average length of a criminal trial at circuit locations visited by the Court during 2017 was 3.27 days slightly less than the 3.48 days in 2016. Trial dates were allocated for 152 circuit trial matters during the year, 7% or 10 matters more than 2016. Ninety-nine of those matters, or 65%, proceeded to a trial. This was 9 matters more than last year. The median delay to criminal trial at circuit locations is illustrated in Graph 10. The 12 month moving average as at the end of December 2017 was 37 weeks. This is a one week increase on the 36 weeks recorded in December 2016.
 
  INITIATIVES 
The District Court’s Consolidated Practice Directions & Circulars to Practitioners in the Court’s criminal jurisdiction were reviewed, updated and published on the District Court website in November 2017. Changes largely related to referencing and reflecting new technology practices. An upgrade to technology in Karratha Court completes the program which provides for running transcript for all criminal trials in all circuit locations. Graph 11 Number of Video Links – Prison and Non Prison The use of video-conferencing facilities continued. A slight reduction in the number of prison links was more than offset by a significant increase (32%) in non-prison links. This increase was predominantly made up of a 40% increase in the number of court to court links and a 27% increase in the number of interstate links. A program to convert video signal transmission from analog to digital providing higher quality video-conferencing and evidence playback has commenced. The courts upgraded are Carnarvon Court, Geraldton Court, Kalgoorlie Court, Karratha Court, Kununurra Court and South Hedland Court.
 
  Civil Jurisdiction
 
  The District Court’s civil jurisdiction is to hear and determine claims for liquidated sums up to $750,000. The Court has unlimited jurisdiction in claims for damages for personal injury. In practice it hears all damages claims for injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents as the Magistrates Court does not have jurisdiction to deal with those claims.
  Please note that figures may differ slightly from those previously published due to regular data integrity checks.
 
  CASELOAD  
 
  The Court’s civil caseload in 2017 continued to be heavily weighted in favour of personal injury claims with the majority arising from workplace accidents and motor vehicle accidents. Most personal injury cases settled at a pre-trial conference, either following discussions between the parties or with the assistance of a Registrar, acting as a mediator. The Court’s aim is to set down a personal injury action for a pre-trial conference within six months of the action commencing. The remainder of the Court’s civil business comprises commercial cases that include debt recovery, disputes over the sale of businesses and the operation of leases. Commercial disputes are case managed by Registrars of the Court by convening directions hearings, making programming orders and progressing cases towards resolution. It is the Court’s aim to ensure that the parties to an action participate in a mediation conference with the aim of settlement, at the earliest possible time after they come into possession of information that will allow for meaningful discussion. The Court has appellate jurisdiction for appeals from the decisions of other Courts and Tribunals, as follows: • Appeals from the decisions of Magistrates sitting in the civil jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court (includes appeals against restraining orders, either made or refused); • Appeals against the decisions of Assessors of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal for awards or non-awards to victims of crime; and • Appeals from the decisions of arbitrators made under Part XI of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981
 
  LODGMENTS
 
   There were 5,338 new civil case lodgments including appeals in 2017, 32 or 1% less than the 5,370 in 2016. New writs lodged decreased by 3% in 2017 with 4,774 new writs lodged compared with 4,902 writs lodged in 2016 (see Graph 12). Personal injury claims accounted for 79% of all new writs lodged in 2017 with the remaining 21% made up of commercial claims. This result is similar to last year.
 
  FINALISATIONS
 
Civil litigation is managed through an extensive programme of case management and alternative dispute resolution. The success of the programme is measured by the fact that very few civil cases actually proceed to a trial in the District Court. Of the 4,628 Writ of Summons civil cases finalised in 2017, 142 were listed for trial, 8 or 5% fewer than the 150 listed in 2016. Forty-seven cases, or 1% of the total, proceeded to trial, similar to the 49 cases in 2016. A total of 158 mediation and 1,976 pre-trial conferences giving a total of 2,134 conferences were conducted by the Registrars of the Court in 2017. This represents 19 fewer than 2016 and is likely to be the result of work undertaken by the legal profession to resolve the case before Registrar involvement. The Court has five Registrars. All are experienced mediators. The Court’s aim is to finalise more cases than are commenced each year. The number of cases finalised in 2017 (5,141) compared favourably with the number of new cases commenced (5,338) resulting in a clearance index of 96%. The median time to settle a case without trial is 12 weeks, three weeks less than the 15 weeks in 2016. 
There were 47 civil trials conducted in 2017, 2 less than 2016. Of these cases, 11 proceeded to trial where the duration of the trial was greater than 5 days, 4 more than in 2016. The average length of a civil trial in 2017 is 4 days. This is a 25% increase on the 2016 (3.2 days) figure. Success in mediation often means it is the more complex cases that proceed to trial and, by their nature, require more time to resolve. Clearing these cases will result in a lower average length of trial. Approximately 72% of the Court’s civil cases were finalised within a period of 52 weeks of their commencement in 2017, a similar result to 2016. The median time to finalise a civil case by trial increased from 136 weeks in 2016 to 161 weeks in 2017. 
 
  There were 4,189 cases on hand in December 2017, 139 (3%) more than the 4,050 cases on hand in December 2016. Of the cases on hand, 58.2% were less than 52 weeks of age, similar to the 2016 position.
 
  APPELLATE JURISDICTION
 
There were 119 civil appeals lodged with the Court in 2017. Of these: • 54 arose from the decisions of Magistrates exercising jurisdiction under the Magistrates Court (Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 and the Restraining Orders Act 1997; • 40 arose from the decisions of Criminal Injuries Compensation Assessors; and • 23 arose from the decisions of arbitrators made under Part XI of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981. The Court finalised 120 appeals in 2017 with 83% of the appeals being resolved within 12 months of their lodgment. The Court aims to resolve all appeals lodged with the Court within 12 months of their commencement. Information on appeals and material to assist self-represented persons with the lodgment of an appeal are available on the District Court website. 
 
  PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY
 
The District Court of Western Australia hosted the 24th Biennial Conference of District and County Court Judges of Australia and New Zealand from 5 – 7 July 2017 at Crown Towers, Perth. The theme was Exploring Diversity and 25 presenters, including keynote, plenary speakers and panellists, covered topics such as Equality in Sentencing, Without Fear or Favour: Cognitive Bias, Children and Vulnerable Witnesses, Cultural Competence and Access to Justice. In total 109 delegates and 64 partners from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and New Zealand attended the three day event. The program included a Welcome Reception and a cocktail function held at Government House, which was hosted by the Attorney General of Western Australia in the presence of the Governor of Western Australia. The conference was considered an overwhelming success with expressions of appreciation of the quality of the conference being received from a number of attendees. A wellness program for judicial officers was commenced. The program was voluntary and consisted of one-on-one interviews from which issues and themes arose which led to a seminar being conducted providing tailored information. Once per month a Judge of the Court presents at lunchtime a paper on a recent decision of the Court of Appeal or the High Court of Australia. Judges also attend a number of seminars throughout the year organised by various judicial education bodies. 
 
STAFF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT 
 
Staff of the Court completed refresher training in a range of compulsory corporate online training modules in 2017. New employees completed the Department’s induction procedures and online training modules covering such topics as: • Introduction to courts and the justice system; • Court conduct and ethics policy; • Court counselling and support services; • Security in Courts and Tribunals; • Using department passwords; • Confidentiality and information privacy; • Occupational health and safety; and • Record keeping awareness. 
 
  THE COURT’S WEBSITE
 
   The District Court’s website continued to be a popular source for accessing case and general information about the operations of the District Court by members of the legal profession, self-represented persons and members of the general public. Information available through the website includes practice directions, circulars to practitioners, fee and form information, general updates on civil and criminal procedure and a procedure manual to assist self-represented persons.
 
  REGISTRY CUSTOMER SERVICE
 
  The District Court registry counter is a key point of customer service delivery for the Court, providing a range of services for members of the general public and law clerks that attend the Court daily with a facility to transact business on behalf of themselves or in the case of law clerks, their legal firm. Customer service officers attending to the public at the registry counter assist the Court in meeting its customer service delivery objectives. The workload of the registry was challenged this year with the ongoing transition to and development of procedures and practices to support eLodgment and civil eFiles. This is a work in progress and will continue into 2018. There were approximately 17,973 customers served in 2017, a 1,826 (11%) increase on 2016. These numbers are estimated by pro-rata to allow for three months of missing data in 2016 and one month of missing data in 2017. A total of 45,761 documents were lodged in 2017, 2,529 (6%) more than in 2016. Twenty-five percent or 11,447 of these were lodged electronically, an increase of 13%. Prior to implementation of eLodgment in July 2016, eLodgment accounted for only 1,321 or 6% of documents lodged. Subpoena management is a significant component of registry customer service. In 2017 2,155 subpoenas were lodged, 276 (11%) less than 2016 and 1,803 subpoenaed items produced were received, 205 (10%) less than the previous year.
 
  District Court Committees as at 31 December 2017
   Management Council Committee 
Chief Judge Sleight (Chair) Judge Reynolds Judge Eaton Judge Stavrianou (until 1 August 2017) Judge Davis Judge Derrick Principal Registrar Melville S Owen – Executive Manager 
 
Civil Administration Committee
  Chief Judge Sleight (Chair) Judge Eaton Judge Stavrianou (until 1 August 2017) Judge O’Neal Judge Birmingham Principal Registrar Melville S Owen – Executive Manager J Petrovski – Manager Case Management K Woods – Acting Manager Trials W Hawley – Manager Customer Support C Jina – Acting Manager Performance  
 
  Criminal Administration Committee Chief Judge Sleight (Chair) Judge Bowden Judge Scott Judge Derrick Judge Cock Principal Registrar Melville S Owen – Executive Manager J Petrovski – Manager Case Management K Woods – Acting Manager Trials W Hawley – Manager Customer Support A Skehan – Acting Listings Coordinator J Howard – Senior Associate K Trenkovski – Criminal Listings (Circuits) C Jina – Acting Manager Performance  
 
  eCourts Civil Committee
 Chief Judge Sleight (Chair) Judge Eaton Judge Stavrianou (until 1 August 2017) Principal Registrar Melville S Owen – Executive Manager J Petrovski – Manager Case Management W Hawley – Manager Customer Support J Howard – Senior Associate K Downsborough – Business Representative M Jackson – Executive Manager Courts Technology Group A Redpath – Courts Technology Group  
 
  Library Committee 
Chief Judge Sleight (Chair) L Lyon – Manager Library & Information Services (DoJ) W Lei – Librarian S Owen – Executive Manager
 
  District Court Building Committee 
Judge Eaton (Chair) Judge Stevenson Principal Registrar Melville A Stevenson – Executive Manager Business Services S Owen – Executive Manager P Smith – Manager Court Services Audio Visual R Randall – Director Court Risk Assessment Directorate M Shaw – Operations Manager, Western Liberty Group B Konrath – Account Manager, BGIS P Bangs – Regional Manager, DTI R Smart – Contract Manager, G4S
  
  
   Technology Committee 
Judge Stavrianou (Chair - until 1 August 2017) Judge Davis Judge Braddock Judge Gething (Chair) Principal Registrar Melville S Owen – Executive Manager A Stevenson – Executive Manager Business Services G Cartwright – Director, Information Services (DoJ) M Jackson – Executive Manager Court Technology Group (DoJ) D McLean – Acting Executive Manager Court Technology Group (DoJ) P Smith – Manager Audio Visual (DoJ) K Penny – Project Leader AV (DoJ) L Wood – IT Support J Howard – Senior Associate D Raffa –Technology Officer M Shaw – Operations Manager, Western Liberty Group B Konrath – Account Manager, BGIS
  
  Judges’ Benchbook Committee 
Judge McCann Judge Stavrianou (until 1 August 2017) Judge Davis
   
      2017 District Court Judges’ Conference Committee 
Chief Judge Sleight Judge Wager (Chair) Judge Schoombee (until retirement 31 December 2017) Judge Scott Judge Staude Judge Levy J Stampalia – Acting Executive Director Court and Tribunal Services S Owen – Executive Manager
 
  2017 District Court Judges’ Conference Committee 
Chief Judge Sleight Judge Wager (Chair) Judge Schoombee (until retirement 31 December 2017) Judge Scott Judge Staude Judge Levy J Stampalia – Acting Executive Director Court and Tribunal Services S Owen – Executive Manager
  
  Continuing Legal Education Program Presenters 
Judge Sweeney Judge Stevenson Judge O’Neal Judge Birmingham Judge Gething  
 
  EXTERNAL COMMITTEES
   His Honour Chief Judge Sleight Member, Heads of Jurisdiction Committee Member, Chief Justice’s Senior Counsel Committee Member, Strategic Criminal Justice Forum Member, Equality Before the Law Bench Book Committee Chair, Inter-Jurisdictional Education Committee Chair, Witness Intermediary Project Steering Committee
 
  His Honour Judge Reynolds 
President of Totius (from February 2016)
  
  His Honour Judge Eaton 
Member, Executive Committee of the Governing Council, Judicial Conference of Australia
 
  Her Honour Judge Wager 
Chair, Board of Management Palmerston Association WA Inc. Member, Inter-Jurisdictional Education Committee Member, National Judicial College of Australia Council
  
   His Honour Judge Stevenson 
Member, Resolution Institute Committee Member, Schools Conflict Resolution and Mediation Program (SCRAM) Member, Western Australian Dispute Resolution Association (WADRA) Member, Courts Jury Advisory Committee SQNLDR, RAAF Standby Reserve (Legal) (ADF) Member, Law Society Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
 
  His Honour Judge Staude 
Member, Law School Advisory Board, University of Notre Dame Member, National Judicial College of Australia National Judicial Orientation Program Steering Committee
 
  Her Honour Judge Braddock 
Member, State Committee, Indigenous Justice Issues
 
  His Honour Judge Levy Member, 
Chief Justice’s Non-Contentious Evidence Sub-Committee Representative, Acceptance of Electronic Briefs for Prosecution (Commonwealth Prosecutions) Sub Committee
 
  Her Honour Judge Stewart
 District Court Representative, Judicial Systems Replacement Working Group
 
   Her Honour Judge Stewart
 District Court Representative, Judicial Systems Replacement Working Group

 

Perth's Freemason Legal Elite, Christopher Stevenson who was the third senior partner at Freemason controlled legal firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques is appointed judge of District Court of Western Australia 

https://www.businessnews.com.au/article/Christopher-Stevenson-appointed-judge-of-District-Court?amp

Author of the series of books called "The Triumph of Truth (Who Is Watching The Watchers?)
 

Perth's Freemason Legal Elite, Christopher Stevenson who was the third senior partner at Freemason controlled legal firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques is appointed judge of District Court of Western Australia 

https://www.businessnews.com.au/article/Christopher-Stevenson-appointed-judge-of-District-Court?amp

Author of the series of books called "The Triumph of Truth (Who Is Watching The Watchers?)
 
recalls in one of his volumes how he won a hearing against Perth Elite Barrister, Christopher Stevenson, when he was representing Mulson Holdings Pty Ltd as a non lawyer director, at a special appointment for summary judgement in the Supreme Court of Western Australian being heard before the Honourable Chief Justice David Kingsley Malcolm, AC.
Perth Elite Barrister, Christopher Stevenson, who was the third senior partner at Freemason controlled legal firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques, unsuccessfully argued that under the Supreme Court Rules, that Stephen Carew-Reid could not represent Mulson Holdings Pty Ltd, because he was not a qualified solicitor, Stephen Carew-Reid set a world legal precedent which now allows a non solicitor to represent a company or another person when it is needed in the interests of justice, even though the rules of the court inicate it can not be done.
Perth Elite Barrister, Christopher Stevenson, was certainly not happy with  the Honourable Chief Justice David Kingsley Malcolm's ruling to allow Stephen Carew-Reid to argue the case being heard before him on behalf of Mulson Holdings Pty Ltd, after laughing at Mr Carew-Reid before the hearing started when Mr Carew-Reid placed his brief case on the bar table where the defense barrister would normally stand to argue for the defendant/respondent while stating to Mr Carew-Reid in a very authoritive confident voice ..
 
"Mr Carew-Reid, I do not know why you are standing there at the bar table where the defense barrister should be to represent the defendant/respondent Mulson Holdings Pty Ltd to defend our clients' summary judgement application being heard at this special appointment by the Chief Justice today. Mr Carew-Reid, there is no possibility that the Chief Justice will allow you to speak in this court today on behalf of the Defendant/Respondent Mulson Holdings Pty Ltd, because under the Supreme Court Rules and Guidelines, only a qualified solicitor can be allowed to represent a corporate entity in the Supreme Court of Western Australia..."
Mr Carew-Reid respectfully replied... 
" Well Mr Stevenson, thank you for informing me of this Supreme Court Rule. I think I will wait at the bar table and see what the Chief Justice has to say.... because it would be a severe miscarriage and travesty of justice if His Honour The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, The Honourable Chief Justice David Kingsley Malcolm, AC, did not allow me as a director of Mulson Holdings Pty Ltd to speak for the company, when the company has no solicitor or barrister to speak for the company. I think that the Chief Justice will agree with me, that in the interests of fairness and justice, I should be given leave by the Chief Justice to represent Mulson Holdings Pty Ltd as I am a director of this company, because the company has no qualified solicitor or barrister today to represent it. It could never be fairness and justice for the court to deny a defendant/respondent to have someone speak for the company in the court, to defend a serious summary judgement where the plaintiff/respondent is asking the court to award it in excess of $1,000,000 (one million dollars) in damages from the defendant/respondent in summary judgement, thus by passing having an open full trial where all the evidence and witnesses can be cross examined."
Mr Carew-Reid argued among other things, that as the defense claims that fraud was committed against the defendants/respondents by the plaintiffs/applicants, the court can never grant a summary judgement order in favour of the plaintiff/respondent. The reason for this, is that when fraud is claimed, then this is a serious matter, which would in the in the interests of justice and fairness, to require that all the evidence and witnesses will have to be all cross examined in full open court.
Mr Carew-Reid claimed in affidavit, as a qualified accountant, that the books of accounts presented by the plaintiffs/applicants to the defendants/respondents of the business sold to them for around $1,000,000 were fraudulent and misleading. 
Mr Carew-Reid won his argument before the Chief Justice and had the plaintiffs/applicant's summary judgement application dismissed.
As a result, eventually the parties settled out of court and the plaintiff withdrew its $1,000,000 claim against the defendants/respondents.
Stopping  Perth Elite Barrister, Christopher Stevenson, who was the third senior partner at Freemason controlled legal firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques, and now a District Court Judge, from helping his clients get away with a cirminal/civil fraud was one of Mr Carew-Reid's milestones in his legally unqualified career. 
 
 
 
 
The Honourable David Kingsley Malcom A.C. Q.C of the Court of Western Australia, and a former Chirf Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia
 
THE SUPREME COURT OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA FAREWELL TO THE HONOURABLE JUSTICE PETER DONALD BLAXELL  
 
 
  TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS AT PERTH ON THURSDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2011, 
AT 4.31 PM
  24/2/11 1 (s&c)
     MARTIN CJ: The Court sits today to farewell the Honourable Justice Peter Blaxell, who will officially retire from office tomorrow. I would like to particularly welcome today members of his Honour's family, including his wife Stella; his father and stepmother, Donald and Shirley Blaxell; his sons Tim, Sam and John Blaxell; their partners Louise, Rebecca and Elizabeth; his grandson Hamish; and also his Honour's brother Tom Blaxell and his wife Naima. I would also like to welcome Justice Michael Barker of the Federal Court of Australia; Justice Stephen Thackray, Chief Judge of the Family Court of Western Australia; his Honour Judge Peter Martino, Chief Judge of the District Court of Western Australia; Chief Magistrate Steven Heath; Ms Cheryl Gwilliam, Director-General of the Department of the Attorney-General; and many other distinguished guests too numerous to name, including former members of this and other Courts. I would also like to welcome those who will address the Court this afternoon, being the Solicitor-General, Mr Robert Meadows QC, representing the Honourable Christian Porter MLA, Attorney-General of Western Australia, who is unable to join us this afternoon; Dr Christopher Kendall, representing Mr Hylton Quail, President of the Law Society of Western Australia; and Mr Grant Donaldson SC, President of the West Australian Bar Association. Prior to my appointment to the Court, I occasionally heard mutterings from my lawyer colleagues to the effect that ceremonial sittings of the Court for the purpose of welcoming or farewelling a Judge were pleasantly predictable occasions devoted to the utterance of sycophantic platitudes.
  As a member of the Court I would obviously brand any such suggestion as heresy, but in case there are any heretics present this afternoon let me assure you that there is nothing sycophantic about the observations I will be making this afternoon on behalf of all of the members of the Court. That is because we are united in the firm view that Justice Peter Blaxell has made an outstanding contribution to the work and to the life of the Court and he will be very sorely missed. My own association with his Honour goes back almost 40 years to 1971, when I was engaged as a clerk during the university vacations by the firm which then practised under the name Lavan and Walsh. His Honour was then a junior solicitor in the firm and Barry Rowland was the senior litigation partner. On one occasion I was asked to assist in the relocation of the firm from its premises in Howard Street, which were about to be demolished, up to new premises at 524 Hay Street. I was tasked particularly with the     responsibility of packing up all the books in the firm's library and then unpacking them and re-shelving them in the new library in Hay Street. In the course of that exercise I was able to ascertain the veracity of one of the apocryphal stories which then abounded through the firm which was to the effect that his Honour had written in large print on a wall of the library, obscured by bookshelves, that, and I quote, "Rowland is a fink." The fact that his Honour chose the word "fink" in preference to some more other obvious Anglo-Saxon alternatives was not a prescient reference to a motorcycle gang yet to be formed but a reflection of the gentile side of his Honour's character. Of course my first and abiding impression of his Honour was heavily influenced by his extraordinary laugh, which can be heard across several city blocks and which is utterly irrepressible. After graduation I served my articles at Lavan and Walsh and worked in sufficiently close proximity to his Honour, who was by then a partner in the firm, that earmuffs were occasionally required. It is very pleasing to me, and I'm sure to his Honour, that a number of members of the firm from those days are able to join us this afternoon, including Barry and Jenny Rowland, Ray and Ann Lynch, and Peter and Marlene Michelides. There are many stories which could be told of his Honour's exploits during those halcyon days but unfortunately decorum precludes all of them. His Honour was appointed to the District Court in 1991 and to this Court on 2 February 2005. I was amongst those at the bar table at the ceremonial sitting to mark his Honour's welcome. I have always thought his Honour's observations on that occasion to be probably the most amusing I have ever heard on an occasion such as this. His Honour's correspondence with Chief Judge Kennedy on the subject of the Women Lawyer's Association was highly amusing, although of course ideologically unsound. I was soon to learn how accurate his Honour's description of the former Chief Judge as the Queen Boadicea of the Court was, given his Honour's enthusiasm for battle. I am sure there are high expectations for the levity of the remarks that we will hear from his Honour in a few minutes. One observation his Honour made that morning was, I thought, a particularly telling observation of his approach to the law and to judicial duties when he observed that although he treated his work seriously, he never took himself too seriously. That approach has stood his Honour in good stead, as it would I think any Judge.
  I have already mentioned his Honour's outstanding contribution to the work of the Court. That contribution has been perhaps most evident in his work as Judge in charge of the criminal list since 2007, when he replaced Justice Geoffrey Miller in that role. The Court had by then adopted a suggestion made by Justice Miller that we introduce a form of mediation to criminal proceedings which we have styled voluntary criminal case conferencing. Justice Blaxell has enthusiastically embraced and refined that process, which has been a great success. His Honour's capacity for devising new solutions to old problems is perhaps most evident in the creation of the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court, which was entirely his Honour's idea. Since the appointment of a number of Registrars of this Court as Magistrates, we have been able to manage criminal cases falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of this Court from soon after their inception until trial or other resolution. This has enabled us to provide what we hope is seamless case management before and after committal in which the Magistrates managing the case prior to committal liaise closely with the Judge in charge of the criminal list with a view to identifying the earliest possible dates for case conferencing or trial in the event that the matter is to go to trial. Like voluntary criminal case conferencing, this procedure has been a great success. It has significantly reduced time to trial in our criminal cases, although our ambition is to further reduce that time. Those ambitions are limited by the fact that there are some aspects of pre-trial preparation in the criminal jurisdiction which are beyond our control, such as ensuring the adequacy of prosecutorial disclosure in a timely fashion and the production of forensic expert reports in a timely fashion.
  Notwithstanding those constraints, however, under Justice Blaxell's active leadership we have made and are continuing to make significant progress in reducing the time between the laying of a criminal charge and its ultimate disposition. His Honour has also participated actively on the work of a number of the committees of the Court, including the Executive Management Committee, the Criminal Practice Committee, the Indigenous Justice Task Force when it was in operation, and more recently the Strategic Criminal Justice Forum. Each of these committees has benefited enormously from the depth of his Honour's experience and wisdom and will miss his contribution. I also mentioned earlier his Honour's enormous contribution to the life of the Court. His sense of humour is as indefatigable as his laugh and he has made an enormous contribution to the camaraderie and collegiate life of the Court. He and his wife Stella will be missed from many of our social activities, although characteristically they have generously offered to continue to host the Court's annual picnic at their delightfully bucolic orchard in the foothills of Perth. I am sure that one of the attractions of retirement has been the opportunity for his Honour to spend more time in that beautiful environment, and also to resume his Honour's seafaring ways. It only remains for me to again express on behalf of all members of the Court our sincere gratitude for his Honour's outstanding contribution to the life and to the work of the Court, and to wish him good health and happiness in a long and enjoyable retirement. Mr Solicitor? MEADOWS, MR: May it please the court. It's my privilege to appear today on behalf of the Attorney-General, representing the government and the people of the State at this special sitting to mark the retirement of your Honour Justice Peter Blaxell as a member of the Supreme Court. The Attorney-General extends his apologies for his absence today and has asked that I convey to your Honour his personal best wishes for a long and happy retirement. As we have heard, your Honour has spent all of 20 years in judicial office, 14 of those as a Judge of the District Court and six as a member of this Court and now, at a relatively youthful age, you are taking a well-earned retirement. By the way, your Honour, if you get bored or become restless just let me know and I am sure we can find something useful for you to do.
    The Chief Justice has traversed your Honour's life and illustrious career on the Bench and I do not propose to go over the same ground, except to say that I adopt what the Chief Justice has had to say on that score, at least the good bits. I had the pleasure of appearing at your Honour's welcome as well and I recall recounting how delighted the former Chief Judge of the District Court, Kevin Hammond, was at your appointment to this Court. He said that you could turn your hand to anything, whether it be in civil or crime, and be relied upon to deal expeditiously and efficiently with whatever you were presented. Another of your Honour's former colleagues at the District Court observed that we were getting a proven package, namely, an experienced trial Judge who was a tried and proved performer and that we could have every confidence that your Honour would continue to discharge your judicial duties with the same skill, diligence and application you had already demonstrated. Both of these observations have been well and truly borne out during your time on this Court, and we are extremely grateful for that. Your Honour's enthusiasm for hard work and willingness to take on whatever was on offer, especially in the criminal area, has made you a significant contributor to the work of the Court. On top of that, the quality of your judicial work has left nothing to be desired. You always ran a good Court and were universally regarded as a pleasure to appear before. While on occasions you could be seen to be a little demanding, and so you should have been, you have remained courteous and polite to counsel at all times and your legendary sense of humour has lightened proceedings whenever required. Your down-to-earth, practical approach to the judicial task is perhaps best exemplified by the way in which you handle the sequel following the High Court decision in the Gypsy Jokers case. In the judgment that you handed down in (2008) WASC 166, you outlined how you had sifted through the redacted material, classified as criminal intelligence by the Commissioner of Police, to determine whether its disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice criminal investigations or to enable the discovery of the existence or identity of a confidential source. It was a delicate and difficult task, but the way in which you went about it has been proven to be well justified for it has been specifically approved by the High Court in K-Generation v Liquor Licensing Court by all members of the Court in that case and if anyone wishes to have that borne out, I suggest you read Justice Kirby's remarks at page 84 of that judgment.
  Your Honour is now heading to a well-earned retirement which will no doubt involve you going down to the sea in boats. Your Honour's love of boats is well-known. Back in the good old days you very kindly took our keynote speaker for the law summer school for a sail aboard your yacht, which I think was called the Pegasus. Dyson Hayden QC, now Hayden J of the High Court, was the keynote speaker in one year and he joined us, along with his wife, Pamela, one Saturday following the summer school to head out to sea on the good ship Pegasus. As it happened, Mrs Hayden, who had been shopping the previous day, turned up sporting a very smart and rather expensive jacket, aqua in colour and somewhat nautical in style. However, as we headed out from the Fremantle Sailing Club into Gage Roads the Fremantle doctor kicked in and disaster struck. Overboard went the jacket. As anyone who knows anything about boats knows boats, and sailing boats in particular, are not that easy to turn around and return to the exact spot where an incident has occurred. Unfortunately, when we returned to what we thought was the spot, our search proved fruitless and the jacket disappeared. Why do I mention this? I sat next to Mrs Hayden at a dinner just the other day and I have to tell you, your Honour, she has not forgotten. I told her that you were about to retire. She expressed the hope, tongue in cheek, I might say, that you might continue your search for the missing jacket when you go down to the sea. At your welcome I expressed confidence that you would make the transition from the District Court to the Supreme Court with ease and that you would make your mark as a judge of the Supreme Court in the years to come. My confidence was not misplaced. Your Honour, the time has now come for me to formally thank you on behalf of the government and the people of Western Australia for your many years of dedicated service to the state, first as a judge of the District Court and ultimately as a judge of this Court. We wish you all the best for your retirement, which we hope will be an enjoyable and fulfilling one. May it please the court. MARTIN CJ: Thank you, Mr Solicitor. Dr Kendall? KENDALL, DR: May it please the court. It is my very great pleasure today to extend the best wishes and sincere thanks of the Law Society of Western Australia for all that has been done by your Honour Peter Blaxell throughout a much-admired legal career. There are few in this room today who can boast of 41 years' service to the legal profession. Of those, 20 constitute dedicated service to both the Supreme and District Courts of this state. This    is an impressive track record and one I dare say will not be soon forgotten. Your Honour, you have long been a dedicated supporter of the Law Society of Western Australia, and for that we are extremely grateful. Notably, your Honour worked as the coordinator for the legal assistance scheme from 1974 to 1975. You also played a pivotal and much-appreciated role in implementing two quite important programs for the society, the DV counsel scheme in the Courts of Petty Sessions and, significantly, the client legal service, a service that ensured much-needed access to legal services and, I might say, justice to those living in the north west of our state. I have not personally had the pleasure of appearing before your Honour. I am well advised, however, that the use of the word "pleasure" in this context is indeed appropriate. In the words of one of my more junior colleagues at the bar, to appear before your Honour was to know that you would be treated with courtesy, respect and degree of kindness that did much to reduce the stresses and anxieties associated with any litigation practice. The atmosphere of civility your Honour created allowed us to focus on what is important, our clients, the articulation of their needs and the role of the law in giving those needs full expression, and we thank you for that. Your Honour, you are described by those who know you as having an infectious laugh, a sense of humour and perspective and a unique ability to put those who appear before you at ease. For those who do so appear, the result has always been a more welcoming forum with which to present those wanting justice and a fair hearing. I'm told that with your Honour at the helm, those appearing before you were better able to focus on simply getting to the point rather than stressing sometimes on the peripheries about issues which, dare I say, are largely irrelevant to those seeking our counsel and those charged with interpreting what we have to say. Again, for that we thank you. Your Honour, I used the word "justice" above. Of course the core of what we do as lawyers is the idea that justice and equality do indeed matter. The Law Society notes your Honour has long held a commitment to the provision of legal aid to those socially less privileged than many of us here today. Your Honour's early commitment to the Aboriginal Legal Service and the establishment of the Kununurra office of the service is particularly noted; indeed, quite significant. Your Honour, you retire today leaving a rich legacy in your judgments. Your commitment to legal principle, your impartiality, your independence, your vast experience   and your wit are all attributes that will be deeply missed. Combine these with our genuine desire to simply do the right to all manor of people, consistent with your judicial oath, and it is fair to say you will indeed be deeply missed. In 2006 the Honourable Justice Margaret McMurdo, president of the Court of Appeal in Queensland, noted in a farewell address to a retiring colleague that the gospel according to Matthew advises those who judge to take care. It reads: For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. There is much truth in this, your Honour. That being so, I want to wish you and Mrs Blaxell all the best, and might I say that you can indeed look forward to your just measure, a long and happy retirement. On behalf of the Law Society of Western Australia I wish you and Mrs Blaxell all the very best in the years that lie ahead. May it please the court.
 
  MARTIN CJ: Thank you, Dr Kendall. Mr Donaldson?
 
 DONALDSON SC, MR:
May it please the court. It is my sombre duty to appear on behalf of the Bar at this special sitting of the Court. This sombreness derives from the fact that this will be the last occasion upon which a member of the Bar will address your Honour Justice Blaxell; that is, unless you slipped something in tomorrow, your Honour. It is well to record as a matter of pride for the Bar that your Honour was a member of the Bar for some years. In that time your Honour appeared in all jurisdictions, but you had a large and prominent practice in crime and in mining law matters. I regret that I can't regale with recollections of your Honour as an advocate but in any event, any forlorn reflection upon your Honour's early career would simply divert proper attention from your Honour's greatest contribution to the community in the form of service on this Court and on the District Court. That said, I will, if I might, so as to exemplify your Honour's capacity both as a Judge and as a practitioner, recount a recent appearance of mine before your Honour. Opposing me was Dharmananda K. I of course was for an innocent victim; Dharmananda was representing some shameful claim jumper in a dispute involving some mining tenements of some value. The matter involved consideration of a number of state agreements which in terms incorporated provisions of the Mining Act 1904, which was of course repealed over time by the Mining Act 1978. Not since the mid-1980s have practitioners had to consider in detail the provisions of the Mining Act 1904. With what appeared to be no preparation, your Honour not only exhibited a complete mastery of the difficult provisions of the Mining Act 1904 but also the course of relevant amendments to that act over time and the purpose of each amendment. More memorable was your Honour's account of the practice that was followed at the times relevant to the dispute by the mining wardens, and in particular your recounting of the particular relevant practices from the 1960s of the mining warden of the particular mineral field relevant to the dispute. This lesson was delivered in your Honour's unpresupposing manner, without the slightest hint of superiority but with the simple, unadorned purpose of assisting and illuminating. I was mesmerised by this tour de force and embarrassed by the incompleteness of my understanding. Dharmananda, conversely, was offended by your Honour's impertinence.
 
    It is likely that only Justice Wickham has brought to this Court a comparable depth and intensity of understanding of the mining law regime and practice in this state, but your Honour retained this knowledge over a long period of service on the District Court, where application of this knowledge in the discharge of your duties day to day was not foremost, exemplified a unique completeness and thoroughness of understanding and a mind of clarity and organisation. Your Honour, I had understood, was appointed to this Court on 1 February 2005, although the Chief Justice has reminded us that it must have been the 2nd, and your Honour's appointment followed a well-trod path in this jurisdiction of appointments from the District Court. It is instructive to recall that in being so appointed, your Honour in this respect followed Justices Pigeon, Heenan, Jones and White and that your Honour has been followed by Justices Jenkins, Mazza, Chaney and Pritchard. To those who harbour some doubts about the practice of so-called judicial promotion, this catalogue ought, with respect, assuage concern. I know that your Honour looks back to your service on the District Court with fondness and, I trust, with great pride. The burden borne by the Judges of that Court is unrelenting. The strain upon Judges presiding over a seemingly endless parade of criminal trials, many back to back, many of difficulty and complexity, is hard to imagine and largely unappreciated by the community, yet this burden was borne by your Honour for all of your years on the District Court uncomplainingly. As a Judge of the District Court and as a Judge of the trial division of this Court, your Honour went about your task unobtrusively and cheerfully. I suspect that all who have appeared before your Honour have been graced with that famous and much-envied smile; if it could be bottled and sold, your Honour would be a trillionaire. And it can be said that every accused person, every litigant, every witness and every counsel who came to your Honour's Court was treated with fairness, with politeness, with understanding and with dignity and respect.
 
That this can be stated assuredly and without the possibility of contradiction after your Honour's long years of judicial service is, with respect, an extraordinary achievement.
 
  To this judicial service in the hearing and determination of cases must of course be added your Honour's great contribution in this Court in the role of what has come to be known in the profession as the High Sheriff of Stirling Gardens, a role which of course your Honour commenced. The Stirling Gardens model has been a stunning success and is a model of management of criminal trials that has attracted wide interest. Though no doubt a deal of its success and prominence derives from its system and from the involvement of senior members of the profession such as the Honourable Kevin Hammond, the Honourable Hal Jackson and the great Ron Cannon, those who seek to replicate the Stirling Gardens experiment will learn that its success in this jurisdiction has been due in significant part to the role in that system which your Honour has played. Acknowledgment of your Honour's role as the High Sheriff of Stirling Gardens brings to mind that in the United Kingdom it has been the practice from time immemorial that High Sheriffdoms take effect in the month of March after a process of appointment the details of which extend back to the reign of Elizabeth the First.
 
This process involves the Monarch's assent to appointment being signified by a prick from a silver bodkin to the parchment of the instrument of appointment rather than by simple signature. This practice has attracted the nomenclature of pricking or skewering. Although it may be that in some respects your Honour as High Sheriff of Stirling Gardens is irreplaceable, no doubt your successor is looking forward to being skewered in due course. At one point I had thought that your Honour's retirement to take effect in late February had been planned having regard to the skewering of your Honour's successor to take effect in March. I noticed recently, however, that your Honour was appointed as a Judge of the District Court in February 1991, a Judge of this Court in February 2005, and of course your Honour retires in February 2011.
 
I have no idea what it is that your Honour gets up to over the Christmas vacation but obviously it's something. Yet these recounted dates are more notable than the simple coincidence of the month of February. These dates attest that your Honour has served as a Judge in Western Australia for over 20 years. Indeed, the period is 20 years and 13 days including today. Of the Judges who have sat on the District or Supreme Courts of this State, this is a period of service exceeded by only seven Judges, and of the Judges currently serving in Western Australia this period of judicial service is exceeded only by Justice Murray, and then by less than a year.
 
  In modern terms it is an extraordinary judicial service and a period of service that we are unlikely often to see again in this country. For that service the profession is, and the community ought to be, grateful and thankful. Although those of us in the practising profession are not supposed to know such things, we all know that your Honour has been a most popular colleague amongst the Judges of this Court and of the District Court - no doubt again the smile and the laugh - though in one respect your Honour will not, I have been told, be missed. Your Honour's reputation for unreliability as an aquatic chauffeur to the annual Judges' Christmas function has extended beyond the Court. It is rumoured that the Honourable Nigel Clarke, dressed no doubt as Kamahl, is still waiting from 1995 to be collected by your Honour from the Barrack Street Jetty. It is further rumoured that the voyage navigated by your Honour from the Barrack Street Jetty to Fremantle for the 1997 Judges' Christmas function concluded some hours after the putative and abandoned lunch was to have finished. That these blemishes were minor, however, simply confirms that the length and the distinction of your Honour's judicial service brings with it the undoubted right to what the Bar hopes will be the unburdening that will accompany retirement from this Court and more time for your Honour and your Honour's scaly crew to sail, or perhaps to learn to sail.
 
  Please be assured that your Honour goes into judicial retirement with the Bar's admiration and gratitude and with our sense of pride that one of our former members has served the community as a Judge for so long with such distinction and with such generosity of spirit. May it please the court. 
 
MARTIN CJ: Thank you, Mr Donaldson. Justice Blaxell?
 
  BLAXELL J: Chief Justice, Mr Meadows, Dr Kendall, Mr Donaldson, thank you so much for your very kind and gracious remarks. I came along armed with a pad and a pen thinking I would have to make a lot of notes of things I would have to refute, but there is not a single one. I have only made one note, and that is that it really took me by surprise that there ever was an occasion when Mr Donaldson was embarrassed.
    Unless there is a conga line of Mareva injunction applicants outside the Court when it opens its doors tomorrow, this is the last time that I will be sitting as a Judge. Although I still have some sentencing to do over the next few months, I am only deemed to be a Judge for that purpose and I will be doing it without pay. I could have remained in my present position for another five years but I decided 18 months ago that I should retire upon reaching the milestone of my 20th anniversary as a Judge, when I would also be 65 years of age. The reason for that decision is that there are other things in life that my wife and I want to do which are inconsistent with me remaining on the Bench. At our age there can be no guarantee that in five years' time we will be of good health and we wish to pursue those other things while we are still physically capable of doing so. When I think back over my time in the law I have a kaleidoscope of memories which all seem to merge together.
 
There have been many thousands of interactions with colleagues, counsel, clients, litigants and witnesses, most of which I have forgotten, but I do experience an overwhelming feeling that it has been all thoroughly worthwhile. I am so glad that in my final months of secondary schooling I made a last-minute decision to change my choice of university studies from engineering to law. When I entered university in 1963 I was a relatively callow youth, only 17 years of age, with little experience in life. Consequently my time at university played a big part in shaping the person that I am today. The friends I made then turned out to be lifelong friends and I am very pleased that so many of them are here today.
 
I went on to spend six years with the firm of Lavan and Walsh, including two years as an articled clerk, earning an average of $15 per week. It was $10 per week the first year and $20 per week the second year. My principal was John Lavan, who was later to become Sir John and a Senior Puisne Judge of this Court. I was always very grateful to him and to the other members of the firm who became my mentors and gave me a solid start in the law. Two of those mentors were Barry Rowland and Ray Lynch, who not only taught me legal skills but also taught me some boating skills, including how to clean the barnacles off the bottoms of their yachts.
 
I am sure that there were many times when they got their $15 worth out of me. While at Lavan and Walsh I became actively involved with the Legal Aid Committee of the Law Society and, as Dr Kendall has mentioned, for a short period I also worked full-time for the Law Society implementing a duty counsel   scheme in the Magistrates Courts as well as a flying legal service to the North-West.
 
There were four other staff working for Legal Aid at that time and it's interesting to reflect that that was the organisation which looked after everything that the Legal Aid Commission does today, and there were only four staff who did that. One of those staff, Loris Wood, has since passed away, but I was surprised and gratified to learn recently that the other three staff members from 35 years ago wanted to be here today and I thank Anne, Suzanne and Mary for coming along. Also here today are many of my friends and former colleagues from my times at the Bar and then the District Court. As most people know, time is a precious commodity for any barrister or Judge and I was always grateful that so many of my former colleagues were willing to make themselves available for wise counsel and sound advice. The people who assisted me in this way are far too numerous to mention but they did include some former colleagues who are no longer with us.
 
In this regard I particularly acknowledge John ('Pincher') Martin, Terry Franklyn, Brian Singleton, Henry Wallwork and Paul Healy. I am so pleased that Nano Healy is able to be here today. Paul was an exceptional man who was always totally rock solid and reliable. He was also the centre of gravity of the District Court and he is very much missed.
 
I often turned to him for advice and he would typically urge me to be staunch in whatever it was that I proposed to do. I greatly enjoyed my 14 years at the District Court. It was a very collegiate Court and Chief Judge Kevin Hammond liked to boast that he was the managing partner of the best firm in town. What is not so well known is that the Judges of that Court occasionally made awards amongst themselves in recognition of outstanding achievements. During my time at the District Court I managed to accumulate three such awards and as today is my last day as a Judge I thought it was about time I brought my awards out of the cupboard and put them on public display.
 
So I would ask my associate to produce these awards. The first one - and you can see it's a very handsome trophy that went with the award, but this was the Chief Judge's Special Award and the engraved plaque on it states, "P.D. Blaxell, still leading the field." I can't remember in what respect I was leading the field but I was very grateful to Chief Judge Kevin Hammond for the presentation of that trophy.
 
  MARTIN CJ: I will mark that as exhibit A.
    
  BLAXELL J: The next one perhaps is not so prestigious because it was the H.J. Wisbey Hospital Handpass Award. The previous winner in 1996 was Judge Muller and in 1997 I was the winner. I can't quite recall why I won it but I think it was something to do with a very big, complex file which I had the management of and I was to be the trial Judge but for some reason I had to recuse myself at the last moment. I don't know why. MARTIN CJ: Exhibit B. BLAXELL J: The next award is the most treasured one. Former Chief Justice David Malcolm had a hand in this because it was the Chief Justice's Gender Awareness Award and in 1997 I was presented with that for "impeccable awareness". I have a feeling that Gail Archer SC also had a hand in that because she used to say my directions to the jury were always impeccable. In any event, I was well credentialed in that area and I was ahead of the field, as you would all realise, so much so that a few years later Chief Judge Kennedy, who was very concerned about the recalcitrant attitudes of a particular senior Judge of the District Court, appointed me to mentor him in matters of gender awareness.
 
I did put a big effort in and we did make some progress, but I think former Chief Judge Kennedy would agree that in the end the results were somewhat mixed. I see her nodding her head. There were not many of these awards conferred but I do recall a particular one given to his Honour John Barlow which I am sure still has pride of place on his mantelpiece. It was to mark his transfer from the District Court to the Family Court and he was presented with the Judas Iscariot award in recognition of his loyalty to his colleagues.
 
    While reflecting on these awards that I received so long ago, it occurred to me that it would be most beneficial if this court was to adopt a similar system. Chief Justice, in the coming months I expect to have some spare time and I am quite prepared to volunteer my services in order to implement such a system. I have already given some thought as to who would be worthy recipients of the awards. Starting with your Honour the Chief Justice, it seems to me that you deserve the Regalia Craft Award for the preservation of the longstanding traditions of the judiciary.
 
The Honourable Justice McLure, the President of the Court of Appeal, I think should be awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Award for tolerance and patience with counsel. To the Honourable Justice Heenan, I think he should receive the Sir Isaac Pitman shorthand award for judgment writing; to the Honourable Justice Hall, I think the Gucci Handbags Award for leading the fashion in judicial accoutrements. My final suggestion is Mr Justice Ken Martin. I think he should receive the John Worsfold Award for championing lost causes.
 
The reason for that is that he insists on displaying in his chambers a framed Eagles football jumper in a very prominent position, and he did so throughout the last football season. I think in the end it became quite embarrassing for him. Chief Justice, I know that you also have a framed Eagles football jumper, but you have had the discretion to place yours in a dark corner of an inside corridor which is little used, where it's not really seen by anybody, so you have obviously shown a lot more sense than your namesake.
 
When I came to this Bench six years ago there had been few District Court judges who previously had made that transition. It was a fairly rare event and I thought that I should provide at least one of my District Court colleagues with a suitable memento of the occasion. Accordingly, I sent off one of my freshly-printed compliment slips to him, and it was a very handsome compliment slip embossed with the words, "With compliments of the Hon Justice Blaxell" and I endorsed the following note on it: Dear Wis, I am conferring on you the great honour of being the first to receive one of my new compliments slips. Signed, Peter Blaxell.
  I thought he would frame that and put it on his shelf in his chambers; alternatively, put it on his desk, where it would have made a very appropriate conversation piece. However, I received it back very promptly the same day with a very rude note on the back, which I am not going to read out - it would be inappropriate - but it said, "Dear Hon Blaxell," and it went on to suggest other uses the paper in my compliments slips could be put to. It also suggested that there was more need for such use of paper in that way by members of the Supreme Court and it ended up saying because of misuse of Ministry property, I was the subject of a complaint to the Commissioner for Corruption and Crime. I have greatly enjoyed my six years on the Supreme Court Bench.
 
It has been a very pleasant and satisfying experience with a wide variety of work, which at times has had an unexpected quality about it. For five of those six years I was Judge in Charge of the criminal list, and during that time the Court implemented some significant procedural changes. Those changes would not have occurred without the enthusiastic collaboration of the Chief Justice, and the hard work of many others, including Principal Registrar Keith Chapman and his fellow Magistrates, the DPP team in the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court and, notably, Sandy De Maio and Joanne Andretich, as well as the staff of this court, including Sam Truglio and my associate, David Watson. Furthermore, the changes required the input and cooperation of the Legal Aid agencies as well as the profession generally.
 
Accordingly, there are many people who can collectively claim ownership of the improvements and efficiencies that have been achieved. It has also been very pleasing to see the growth in the system of voluntary case conferencing initiated by my predecessor, Justice Geoffrey Miller. Criminal mediation has significantly reduced the numbers and lengths of criminal trials and the good work of our mediators Ron Cannon, Kevin Hammond and Hal Jackson has been critical to achieving that success. In my opinion, with appropriate legislative changes there is no reason why there cannot be further significant improvements to the process of criminal litigation. The Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court has worked very well, but it is really only a compromise for what could be the best working model. Historically, there were good reasons why indictable charges had to progress from a Magistrates Court to a superior court. However, those reasons no longer apply and the time has surely come when all indictable charges should commence in the jurisdiction where they are ultimately dealt with.
 
  During my time on the bench it has been my privilege to work under five different Chief Judicial Officers. The first of them, Chief Judge Desmond Heenan, is no longer with us. However, three of the other four, Chief Judges Kevin Hammond, Antoinette Kennedy and our present Chief Justice are all here today. Unfortunately, David Malcolm was a last-minute apology. Having been a first-hand witness to the ways in which each of them ran their courts, I can vouch for the fact that the citizens of this state have been very fortunate to have had such people at the upper levels of the judiciary. Despite those Chief Judicial Officers having their differing styles of Court governance, they each succeeded in implementing necessary changes and in guiding bodies of individuals who were not always prone to think as one.
 
    In this regard a Court as an institution has a very unique structure because a Chief Judge or a Chief Justice is merely the first among equals. The members of the Court are independent of each other and they have no say in who their future fellow members will be. Most of them are former barristers and it is no secret that barristers are not always lacking in ego and that they sometimes have personal idiosyncrasies. It is inevitable that any Bench will have a wide variety of personalities and points of view and on some issues it is no easy task to get a consensus. More than one Chief Judge or Chief Justice has been heard to say that the task of getting Judges to agree is very much like herding cats, yet each of the Chief Judicial Officers I served under successfully accomplished that task.
 
The present Chief Justice in particular has had to deal with a number of controversial issues but they were all dealt with fairly and in a way which has ensured that we remain a very happy Court. This is in no small part due to his Honour's outstanding leadership abilities and his implementation of a very open and transparent system of court governance. It is the best system of court governance that I have ever seen and it is the main reason why we have no still currents running deep in this Court. We have also been fortunate to have some particularly good appointments to this Bench in recent times and I predict that this Court will continue to grow from strength to strength over the coming years. That is perhaps especially so now that I am leaving. Before I conclude I need to thank a number of people for the support they have given me. Firstly, I thank all of my colleagues on this Bench for their wise counsel, good advice and camaraderie over the past six years.
 
They will be glad to know that I am retaining their direct phone numbers and I trust that they will not mind the occasional call to take advantage of their better knowledge on some matters. In that regard I expect there will be times when on my boat at Rottnest when I will need good advice on which bottle of wine I should select to drink with my fresh-caught lobster. I may well canvass a number of views on that subject each time.
 
I also thank all of the staff of the Court who work very hard behind the scenes to keep the wheels of justice turning. They are led by Robert Christie, who in my humble opinion, having seen him operate in both the District and Supreme Courts, is undoubtedly the best court administrator in the state. We are also very fortunate to have the state's best listings manager, Sam Truglio.
 
  All of the staff are very obliging and willing to go that extra little distance to get a job done properly. We have a remarkable number of dedicated and diligent people on our staff. I also thank all of my personal staff who have worked for me over the past 20 years. I have had three long-term associates during that period, namely, Don Reece, Geoffrey Escott and David Watson. They and my other associates, and particularly those who have worked under me for shorter periods in recent months, have all rendered excellent service. I also thank David Watson for his very proactive assistance in my management of the criminal list. I have been fortunate to have had some excellent orderlies, and I particularly thank John Foster for his services. Furthermore, I have been lucky to have some very obliging secretaries, including June Page, who has been my mainstay in this regard over the past year. Turning now to the members of my family,
 
I thank my parents for a loving upbringing and for the opportunities that they provided to me when I was young. Regrettably, my mother died 12 years ago, but my father is now 92 years of age and he is still going strong. However, the person to whom I owe the most is my wife. We decided to marry two weeks and two days after we first met and I consider that I was a very lucky man on the day I met Stella. When the invitations went out, most of my friends and relatives had not even met her. Considering those circumstances, our marriage has been a remarkably successful partnership and I have no doubt it will endure to the end. Throughout our nearly 40 years together we have been willing to make sacrifices for each other, but I freely acknowledge that most of those sacrifices have been made by her. In that regard it was very soon after we married that we produced three marvellous sons all in the space of 30 months, so we had three babies in nappies. Someone had to stay home to change the nappies and we faced a difficult decision because Stella was at the start of her career as a medical practitioner and I was a newly-fledged barrister. In the end it was Stella who stayed home while I became the sole breadwinner. I cannot now recall how it was that we reached that decision but I am absolutely sure that at the time I had at the forefront of my mind the need for gender equity and equal opportunity. But no matter how the decision was made, I am hugely indebted to Stella for the sacrifices that she made to her career in order that I could pursue my own.
 
    I am, of course, very proud of my three sons, their partners, as well as my four grandchildren. One of the great benefits of my retirement is that I will now be able to spend much more time with my grandchildren, including a fifth one who is soon to arrive. So, Hamish, you may find from time to time that I am waiting at the school gate at the end of the day. I am also blessed with the make-up of my extended family and I thank all of them for their support over the years. Finally, I thank each and every one of you who have come along today to honour me with your presence. After we have adjourned I hope that you will all be able to spare some time and come to the foyer to have a drink or two with me. Thank you. 
 
MARTIN CJ: Thank you, Justice Blaxell. The Court will now adjourn. 
 
AT 5.19 PM THE MATTER WAS ADJOURNED ACCORDINGLY