FOUR out of eight new magistrates appointed in Queensland will be based on the Gold Coast, including two of whom will be charged with the specific task of helping combat domestic and family violence.
Barristers Clare Kelly and Louise Shepherd will take up their specialist roles at the now-permanent Southport Domestic and Family Violence Court within the next few weeks.
Since 2015, Kelly has served as Principal Crown Prosecutor in the Ipswich chambers of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions while Shepherd has managed domestic violence cases as an Acting Magistrate in Ipswich.
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Meanwhile, barrister Don MacKenzie and solicitor Kerrie O’Callaghan will take up new roles as magistrates in the Southport Magistrates Court.
MacKenzie has practised at the private bar in Brisbane since 2009 and has been an Officer in the Royal Australian Navy’s Defence Force Legal Service since 2000.
O’Callaghan was admitted as a solicitor to the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1985 and has been a Member and Senior Member of Tribunals since 1993.
Queensland Law Society president Christine Smyth said it was pleasing to see half of the appointees would take to the bench at Southport Magistrate’s Court – the only courthouse servicing Queensland’s second largest city.
“The Society has consistently supported the idea of specialist courts across Queensland, and we applaud the Government for recognising that more domestic violence courts are needed,” Ms Smyth said.
“Violence is a scourge in our community and domestic and family violence is a stain on our society.
“Those who suffer from these types of violence must have access to reliable and timely assistance from our justice system, and that is what these specialist courts provide.
“Our magistrates are at the very forefront of our justice system, and we must always ensure that they are adequately resourced in order so that justice is served swiftly and adequately for all.”