Ebiny is in her second year of a Bachelor of Laws at James Cook University in Townsville. She shares her job shadow experience at the Townsville Courthouse where she went behind-the-scenes of the Magistrates Court.
The Magistrates Courts are the entry level court in Queensland and 95% of court cases are heard in this court. They deal with less serious offences including assault, theft and minor traffic offences, committal hearings for more serious crimes and civil disputes between people or organisations about property and money involving less than $150,000. Local Magistrates Courts are held in 131 locations across Queensland.
On Thursday, 12 May, 2016, I was taken behind the scenes of the Townsville Magistrates Court. This rare and exciting experience provided me with a glimpse of the working life of a local Magistrate. My expectations of the day were exceeded, and I left feeling both inspired and buzzing with new information.
I had the honour of shadowing Magistrate Mack, a respected and friendly Magistrate, who works exceptionally hard. Hard-work came as no surprise considering just how fast-paced and demanding the Magistrates Court is (handling over 90% of all Townsville criminal matters). Paperwork which took Magistrate Mack minutes to promptly read through, would have taken me hours.
An interesting exercise Magistrate Mack requested of me was to try and decipher sentencing outcomes for two different cases. This proved to be a lot harder than I originally thought. Although I had practised some similar problem-solving cases before, none had as much depth, background, or factors to consider. However, being able to apply the information I have learnt at university helped immensely and gave me a great sense of accomplishment.
Additionally, the experience allowed me to become much more familiar with the Magistrates court system and its structure. I was able to sit at the front of court next to Tessa Koppe, Magistrate Mack’s Court Services Officer. This opportunity allowed me to understand how much organisation and background work takes place in order for the day to run smoothly. It was also exciting to be situated up the front and have a clear view of all those involved in each case. To my surprise, I also learnt that there are actually five Townsville Magistrates court rooms in total thanks to Bree-Ayn Hollywood, Magistrate Mack’s Executive Support Officer, who also helped me throughout the day.
In conclusion, the opportunity to shadow a local Magistrate and feel more connected to the real-world law industry was amazing. I am incredibly grateful to have had this once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget. Not only did it help further my education, but it has inspired and motivated me to strive for success similar to Magistrate Mack’s.
ABC Townsville visited Ebiny on her experience. The full story is on their website.