First female chief magistrate appointed
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN
THE GOVERNMENT has appointed a first female chief magistrate for the country.
She is Emma Garo, who was sworn in before Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer at the High Court last Friday.
Ms Garo replaces former Chief Magistrate John Numapo whose contract ends this month.
Mr Numapo will remain to complete all his pending cases before he leaves.
Speaking at the swearing in ceremony, Sir Albert congratulated Ms Garo on her appointment and wished her well as she begins her new role and responsibilities as the first female Chief Magistrate.
He said it not only a fine and outstanding achievement for her personally but also as a pioneer on behalf of women and girls in the country that with determination and focus, she can achieve her dreams and aspirations and climb the ladder of success to key strategic positions in government and contribute to the growth and development of this nation through judicial and legal service.
“She joins other outstanding women leaders in this country in government and the private sector to serve as leaders and servants in their fields of career and profession,” Sir Albert said.
He added said Ms Garo’s career as a lawyer and judicial officer and also her service and contributions in the community and abroad are well known.
“She began her career as a lawyer in the Public Solicitor’s Office from February 2001 to August 2002.
“She then was posted to Gizo and was there more than three years to November 2005, she was the sole lawyer manning and serving the Public Solicitor’s Office in Gizo for the Western District.
“She was transferred back to Honiara then in January 2006.”
Sir Albert said Ms Garo also served for some times in the Public Solicitors Office in Auki, Malaita, from February 2006 to September 2007.
He said she joined the Magistracy thereafter and served in Makira and Temotu provinces and Honiara.
Ms Garo was appointed Deputy Chief Magistrate in March 2010 to June 2013.
She resigned thereafter to join the legal profession and worked as a private lawyer in DNS and Partners Law firm.
In 2014 she took up an overseas posting as the Resident Magistrate in the Republic of Nauru and served in this position till December 2016.
“You will appreciate that she will not only bring with her a vast legal knowledge and understanding but also a broad experience of service in different fields of service and work in the legal profession in the country and overseas.
“She has demonstrated a very high standard of professionalism and competency in her legal career and also knowledge of the law. She will bring with her leadership qualities and attributes that she has grown and moulded into her character and ability as a leader in the Judiciary.”
Sir Albert commended her for her courage in willingly taking up this challenge to serve this country in this high, responsible but also very demanding role as Chief Magistrate.
He said her appointment ‘naturally’ helps to strengthen and improve gender- balance in the judiciary and shows that the bench is not merely a man’s job but that women can equally perform and participate in the administration of justice from the bench and not merely from the bar.
Sir Albert assured Ms Garo of the support of Judges and Magistrates to help and support her as she embarks on this challenging and demanding role.
“Do not hesitate to ask for help if ever you get stuck or unsure about what to do.
“I know you are a very capable and reliable leader, well able to handle the challenges of the office and to do an excellent job.”
Besides Ms Garo, there are three other female magistrates currently working at the Central Magistrate’s Court.