Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    New magistrates to cut court waiting times

    6/08/2008 12:00 AM

    Attorney General Jim McGinty has announced the appointment of three new magistrates. The appointments will allow the courts to fill two new positions created to cut waiting times in regional areas.


    “The State Government recently announced a second magistrate for the Kimberley and a third magistrate for the South-West region,” Mr McGinty said.


    “Court waiting times in these regions are more than 40 weeks at times, and it is expected these new positions will allow waiting times to be decreased to about 15 weeks in the future.


    “As well as reducing waiting times, having a second magistrate in the Kimberley will mean the huge Kimberley court circuit can be split into West and East Kimberley rounds.


    “Travelling from a base in Kununurra, the new second magistrate will spend more time on circuit through communities in the East Kimberley such as Halls Creek, Kalumburu, Oombulgarri, Warmun and Balgo.”


    Two sitting magistrates have already been appointed to Kununurra and the South-West.  On September 1, magistrate Michelle Pontifex will take up the South-West position, while magistrate Catherine Crawford will be based in Kununurra.


    The three new appointments include Greg Smith, who will be based in Perth, Paul Roth, who will be based in Port Hedland and Ms Tanya Watt, who will be based in Kalgoorlie.  Ms Watt will replace magistrate Denis Temby, who returns to Perth later this year, while Mr Roth replaces magistrate Elaine Campione, who is also returning to Perth.


    Mr McGinty said all three appointees were of a very high calibre and their diverse range of experience would be an asset to the important work of the State’s Magistrates courts.


    Greg Smith:

     Mr Smith is a barrister and solicitor with extensive experience in both the prosecution and defence of criminal matters.


    Admitted to the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 1979, Mr Smith has run his own practice for the past 16 years and is a member of the Legal Aid WA Senior Practitioners’ Panel for Criminal Matters and a member of the Director of Public Prosecution’s Panel of Private Practitioners.


    “Mr Smith’s understanding of both defence and prosecution matters will hold him in good stead in his new position,” the Attorney General said.


    Ms Tanya Watt:

    Ms Watt was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Western Australia and the High Court of Australia in 1996.  Since 1998, she has been a prosecutor with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.


    As acting Director of Legal Services, Practice Manager and Senior State Prosecutor for the DPP, Ms Watt managed a large team of solicitors and support staff and has extensive experience in the District and Supreme courts, Drug Court and Children’s Court.


    Most recently, she was the Senior Prosecutor for the Kimberley Justice Initiative for the Children’s Court jurisdiction, which prosecuted child sexual offence cases in the State’s north.


    “Ms Watt’s demonstrated excellent management and administrative skills will be of great benefit managing the competing demands in a busy magistrates’ court,” Mr McGinty said.


    Paul Roth:

    Mr Roth has been a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Western Australia since 1983 and the High Court of Australia since 1994.


    He spent 16 years working with Legal Aid WA and for the past 9 years he has run his own practice specialising in criminal litigation with experience in the Magistrates, District and Supreme courts.


    “Mr Roth’s vast experience dealing with clients from a diverse range of backgrounds will be of immense assistance in his new role,” Mr McGinty said.


    All three magistrates started this week.


    Attorney General's office  - 9422 3000