Barristers at Rockhampton's Old Supreme Court Chambers in about 2010. From left: New district court Judge Jeff Clarke, Tony Arnold, Jordan Ahlstrand, Ross Lo Monaco, Maree Willey, Tom Polley and Supreme Court’s Justice Graeme Crow. Photo by: JENNY LIGHTFOOT
Barristers at Rockhampton's Old Supreme Court Chambers in about 2010. From left: New district court Judge Jeff Clarke, Tony Arnold, Jordan Ahlstrand, Ross Lo Monaco, Maree Willey, Tom Polley and Supreme Court’s Justice Graeme Crow. Photo by: JENNY LIGHTFOOT

New judge known for ‘no nonsense’ approach to justice

ROCKHAMPTON'S new judge, who has become know for his "no nonsense" approach during his five years as a magistrate, is the first in his family to have a career in law.

This information was revealed during an official welcome ceremony in Brisbane today, which was livestreamed to the Rockhampton courthouse, where Judge Jeff Clarke's colleagues gathered to watch.

RELATED: New judge for Rockhampton District Court

Chief Judge Brian Devereaux SC said Judge Clarke - who had worked as a clerk, crown prosecutor, in private practice for criminal and civil law, five years as a magistrate and president of the Victims of Crime Association in Central Queensland - was well situated to join the district court.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath QC said since Judge Clarke was appointed in 2015 to be a magistrate, he had become known for his "no nonsense approach".

The Bar Association of Queensland president Rebecca Treston QC said Judge Clarke was also known to be diligent and thorough in his work.

"Your preparedness and understanding of human nature will serve you well," she said.

Queensland Law Society president Luke Murphy said today's judicial system required everyone to adapt to the changed modes of delivery of justice.

"It is an obvious understatement to say that Your Honours come to your new roles in unusual and challenging times," he said.

"We are living in challenging times and not all of those challenges come from a virus."

Mr Murphy said the internet, which had allowed the law society to continue to deliver justice during COVID-19 pandemic, had also allowed "the ill-intentioned and ill-informed to make scurrilous attacks on those in the service of public".

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"Sadly, we have seen that recently in relation to other high profile professionals," he said.

Mr Murphy said the legal professional was not immune to such attacks.

"One of a judge's essential skills must therefore be the ability to ignore those attacks so that they deliver justice, candidly and unaffected by such tirades," he said.

"To do this requires courage, independence and a devotion to the rule of law."

Mr Murphy said all three new judges - Judge Clarke, Judge Rowan Jackson and Judge Geraldine Dan - possessed that ability.

He commended Judge Clarke's contribution to the wider community through his work as president of the Victims of Crime Association - Central Queensland, among other legal groups such as the Equal Opportunity Association.

Mr Murphy said this vast community experience, coupled with his extensive experience, would instil confidence in Judge Clarke's ability to administer justice.

Judge Clarke said he and the other two new judges were very fortunate to be appointed to the District court which was full of rich, talented professionals.

He said he was the first in his family to study and join the law profession and thanked Central Region co-ordinating Magistrate Cameron Press for his support in the past five years and for explaining the magistrate workload when Judge Clarke first started, in one word - "unrelenting".

OTHER COURT NEWS:

'Dodgy' car sale leaves man fined and with a damaged car

Broncos jersey among 12 items stolen from sport store

'I am going to kill you': Terrifying assault on stranger

Judge Clarke starts in Rockhampton District Court on September 28.

Judge Michael Burnett, who has relocated to Brisbane, will be farewelled at a ceremony at the courthouse this afternoon.



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