THREE new magistrates have been sworn in on Monday, bringing the total number of magistrates in the country to 14.
They are Clifton Meleu Ruele of Temotu and Guadalcanal, his wife Amanada Houpea of Malaita and Joyceth Paile of Malaita and Temotu.
Ruele was sworn in as a principal magistrate while the two female were sworn in as second class magistrates.
Apart from these three, a first class magistrate, Luke Maka Sandy from Makira and Malaita was promoted to Principal Magistrate.
He was also sworn in yesterday before Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer.
Ruele used to work at the Law Reform Commission from 2013 to 2015 as a senior legal officer before joining the Public Solicitor’s Office in 2016.
In 2019, he was posted to the Public Solicitor’s Office in Gizo, Western province, looking after Westernand Choiseul provinces.
He then applied for the Principal Magistrates’ Post.
Ruele graduated from Emalus Campus in 2012 and did his Professional Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP) in Fiji in early 2013.
His wife Amanda first joined Global Lawyers, a private legal firm in early 2017 and left in early 2019 to join the Public Solicitor’s Office.
She was posted to the PSO in Gizo.
Ms Houpea graduated from law school in Emalus Campus in Fiji in 2015 and did her PDLP in Fiji the following year.
Ms Paile, 24, of Malaita, graduated from Emalus Campus in 2017.
She completed her PDLP in 2018 at the University of South Pacific (USP), Solomon Islands campus in Honiara.
She then joined the private law firm, Rano & Company before joining the magistracy.
Mr Sandy joined the Magistracy in 2018 as a first class magistrate and was posted to Auki Magistrates’ Court, where he is currently stationed.
Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer in welcoming the magistrates said he is pleased to note that gender balance is being supported through the appointments of these new magistrates.
He said this will increase the number of women Magistrates on the Bench.
“Your appointments today will provide that much needed support and strength to the work of the Magistracy to provide justice to the people of this country,” Sir Albert said.
“You have been appointed based on your outstanding performances as legal officers and in Mr. Luke Sandy’s case this comes as a promotion for his outstanding service as a Magistrate (Class I),” Sir Albert added.
He said these appointments are made in recognition of their ability, capacity and commitment to duty and understanding of what it takes to be a judicial officer.
“These have not been made lightly,
“……..for we are only too familiar with the rough and tumble in the work of a Magistrate, the daily demands and strains of having to make decisions, including whether to impose a penalty or not, on almost a daily basis, which will affect the lives of those coming before you and the community at large.
“The work of a Magistrate is not going to be easy.
“……and will require strength and courage and commitment to your duty statements and oaths to do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of Solomon Islands, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.
“It is for that very reason you have been selected and entrusted with the responsibilities of protecting and maintaining the independence, reputation and integrity of the Courts in the country while delivering justice timely, fairly and impartially.”
Sir Albert assured the magistrates that they will not be left to struggle alone in the dark but that they will endeavour to ensure that the magistrates are properly equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and attributes to be able to do your work well.
“I am sure other Judges and colleague Magistrates will always be available and willing to assist as and when required,” Sir Albert further added.
Sir Albert told the new magistrates that as the Courts’ doors prepare to open for the New Year 2020 their timely appointment will improve access to the courts for our people.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN