Gladstone's top prosecutor takes his next step
IF YOU'RE one of our friendly local criminals, you might consider this a good news story.
After three years as the city's top prosecutor, Sergeant Barry Stevens is leaving Gladstone to take up a position at Murgon.
The 33-year Queensland Police Service veteran and his office have overseen about 4500 cases each year in the port city, dealing with about 2500 defendants.
He spent his final day on the job at Gladstone Magistrates Court yesterday, prosecuting cases well into the late afternoon without a lunch break.
Sgt Stevens said the biggest change he'd seen over the past three years was not the amount of crime in Gladstone, but the type of crime that was coming across his desk.
"When I first got here, FIFO was still very strong, and the money was flashing," he said.
"Now there's not as much money coming in, we're seeing different types of crimes.
"Domestic violence offences are on the rise, but that doesn't necessarily mean instances are rising... it may be because people are now finally feeling they can get involved and report it."
Sgt Stevens said it was important for him to acknowledge the hard work of the other prosecutors as well as all of the police officers in Gladstone.
"We've only been so busy because they are so dedicated and hard working," he said.
Asked if he found the job satisfying, Sgt Stevens said that may not always be the right word.
"We need to deter offenders and others from committing crimes... but if I send a defendant to jail I know that's going to have an impact on third parties, whether that be children or a partner," he said.
"It's not a decision anyone takes lightly."
Sgt Stevens said he will miss working with defence lawyers and magistrates in Gladstone to arrive at a just outcome.
"In the end... we're all officers of the court," he said.
"There are seven judges on the High Court and they're among the best judges in the land, but sometimes they have diametrically opposed opinions.
"The point is learned people can have very different opinions and still be right."