Senior Magistrate honoured

On October 16, 2014, in News, by Site Admin


Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner was honoured yesterday by his colleagues in the court in advance of his retirement as Senior Magistrate.

While Mr Warner will be finishing his time in the post on October 19, he will continue to take the bench as a Magistrate for another two years.

Mr Warner told the gathering that the impetus behind stepping down as Senior Magistrate was reaching retirement age of 65, but that he was happy and eager to continue his work in the courts.

“[Being the Senior Magistrate] has been a rewarding experience. I enjoy coming here every day and dealing with the public,” he said.

He said that his goal in the post was to always be “fair and fearless” in his decisions, thanking the court staff who helped him throughout his 14-year tenure as Senior Magistrate.

His successor, Magistrate Juan Wolffe, told the crowded courtroom that prior to becoming Senior Magistrate, Mr Warner had acted as a police officer, a prosecutor, a defence lawyer and a Puisne Judge in the Supreme Court.

“With his no-nonsense approach, mixed with a healthy dose of compassion, reasonableness and fair-mindedness, he has personified the proper administration of justice.

“It is truly remarkable to consider that Mr Warner presided over the vast majority of the most serious, complex and complicated legal matters that have come before any of the courts since his appointment.”

Mr Wolffe also said that Mr Warner had helped shepherd the courts through legal reform, including moving to the new court building, implementing the alternatives to incarceration initiative, the formation of both the Drug Treatment Court and the pilot Mental Health Court. Fellow Magistrate Nicole Stoneham said Mr Warner had set the tone and direction for the courts in the modern era, while Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo commented that he had never seen such an event for a Magistrate still sitting.

President of the Bar Justin Williams praised Mr Warner as a multi-talented legal practitioner who never shirked making difficult or unpopular decisions, while Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field said: “The chief Magistrate in any jurisdiction can set the tone for the whole judiciary. Mr Warner has set it extremely well.

“He has been firm but fair, disciplined but compassionate, strong but always willing to listen.”

Ombudsman Victoria Pearman said that while Mr Warner had performed in numerous roles during his career, his most significant role had been in teaching young lawyers like herself.

She told the group that after the Magistrates’ Court moved from it’s old location on Reid Street, she went back into the old building and could find almost nothing to show the building’s former use.

“I was looking for the Court 1 sign because I thought one day it would be very good to be able to present that to you,” she said. “Well I didn’t find anything like that. The only thing that was still there was a plaque that spoke about behaviour in court.”

She offered the sign to Mr Warner, joking it was about the most unglamorous gift he could have.

Defense lawyer Elizabeth Christopher also praised Mr Warner’s work as a mentor, saying that he passed on a ruthless, relentless advocacy.

“I don’t always agree with him, of course, but when he makes a decision he does so because he feels that it is right,” she said. “I admire that. That is his sole motive for the decisions he makes on the bench, and he does it fearlessly.”

Chief Justice Ian Kawaley presented Mr Warner with a plaque thanking him for his years of dedicated service to the courts, saying he had achieved his goal of being a fair and balanced advocate for justice.


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