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Port Macquarie Magistrate

Unamed magistrate that I think was fair

My only court experience was at Port Macquarie and I have to say that I think the magistrate, sorry I don't recall his name, was most fair. I know the sitting was March 18th 2005.

I was served both interim and final orders on the 11th. Yep not enough time to respond as is apparently so often the case. I did fax the Parramatta and Port Macquarie courts, complaining about the lack of time to respond and seek legal representation. However the only reply was from Parramatta saying that it's nothing to do with them. After some advice from Uncle Buck. I then faxed and emailed her solicitor and copied Port Macquarie court (via fax) saying :

- It was unreasonable for me to have to attend at such short notice.

- The PDR had not been followed.

- That it was impossible to comply with the court rules, requiring 7 days notice of filing my response.

- That I vehemently deny the allegations of alleged abuse in the clients affidavit.

- That I object to the jurisdiction of the Local Court as they cannot hear a defended matter.

- That the matter be moved to the FMC, with 28 days to follow the listing.

- That I would seek costs if I had to attend.

- Advised of the option for mediation.

- Confirmed that the client had denied contact from 3rd December 2004

- Gave notice of my intention to seek that my son have contact for the 2 weeks at Easter.

Her lawyer did not respond.

As such, about 2am in the morning of Friday 18th March, I and my partner, now wife, drove to Port Macquarie. I donned my suit, she less casual attire. We parked in the car park just off the way and waited there for the best part of an hour and then at 8:50am, went over to the court. We got asked to go in and sit down. We sat through quite a few hearings, until her solicitor, approached after the court official pointed us out to him.

He beckoned for me to go outside and asked if I wished to discuss things. This I hadn't been warned off, so having faith in the advice I'd been given, I turned down his offer. We returned. Her solicitor had to deal with another case and I was flabbergasted to hear what I still wonder about today, that he reminded the solicitor that it had only been a week since the magistrate had warned the solicitor about an AVO being taken out against him by the magistrate. The magistrate had in the previous cases, acted very fairly, reducing an AVO to not include mention of a gun so the father still get contact and that the police had been pretty bad in their handling of the matter (much of this is a vague memory and may now be incorrect).

Anyway my turn came and I was called and asked to stand after her solicitor had started dribbling out the false allegations, being stopped frequently by the magistrate, and then stopped entirely. The magistrate looked at the letter I'd faxed, and told me off for not getting legal representation, in a nice way. He asked how long since I'd seen my son. I told him (I've only just realised that by reading the letter he knew). Anyway, he then turned to her solicitor (she'd been asked in by now, as had her boyfriend) and asked him if contact were going to be allowed. Her solicitor looked at her, a shake of the head. The magistrate then said that he was going to suspend the hearing so that we could go outside and arrange contact for the weekend. Before I could get up, another solicitor, a lady, came over and explained what the magistrate had said.

I really was confused, this had not gone as I had thought, so I phoned Uncle Buck to ask what I do, basically he sort of said play it by ear.

I was shocked, I had honestly thought I'd go in, reiterate what was in the letter and leave in a minute or so. Anyway her solicitor came over, asked for this stipulation, that stipulation, I basically said fine, as long as it applies equally. Four hours the following day were arranged, nothing but everything. So we went back in, this time instead of asking me to stand the magistrate asked me to sit where the solicitors do.

Said I was a fool not to get legal representation, also said that he'd arrange another hearing in a month, explaining/advising that it would be at least 3 months to get an FMC hearing, but most of all he made it clear on a number of occasions that he did not want to see us again and that we should sort things out. He did go through the conditions of the contact and stressing that I understood that I couldn't drink any alcohol. I just replied absolutely no problem as I hardly ever drink (according to her affidavit I was an alcoholic, into rough sex, an abuser …). I thanked the magistrate.

It was over and my son would get to see me the next day, in my mind a victory and a warning to her. I went over to thank the lady solicitor. She said, so all could hear, "I've never come across that one. it's takes the biscuit", shaking her head to further let people know her opinion.

At first the ex, insisted that she would go ahead with the orders she'd put in. However I phoned her and told her what the magistrate had meant and that her solicitor was a fool for advising her to do anything other than avoid the magistrate who had it in for her solicitor and had our son's interest at heart. We got orders, not the best, but definitely not the worst, without going to court again.

My costs were the odd fax sent from home, the trip to PM and a few reams of paper and printer ink. Hers at least $13,000 (no legal aid as she had purchased a property from the money that I'd given her when she left).

So this magistrate gets my vote as being fair. Is there anyway I can find out who he is?
Ask the registry to go back on the court records. They should have access to 2005 records on their system

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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