EVERYDAY he sits on the bench of the local court, deciding the guilt or innocence, and ultimately, the fate of those who come before him.
Now, years of tireless work and dedication to the justice profession has seen magistrate Michael Holmes honoured with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM).
READ ABOUT THE OTHER HONOURS IN THE REGION
The former Tamworth and now Northern Tablelands-based magistrate’s service to the law, and to the community was recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours, announced on Monday.
When told of the honour, the veteran magistrate, who used to sit in Moree, Inverell and Boggabilla as well, said it was a “complete surprise”.
“I have been fortunate in having a very supportive wife and family and the sacrifices they have had to make,” he said.
“I have also been very fortunate over the years working within this region with very good and dedicated people.
Magistrate Holmes has had 47 years involvement in the law performing general legal, investigative, prosecution and judicial roles within New South Wales and overseas.
For the past 13 years, he has been a magistrate and coroner in the local and coroner courts, and has been based in the New England North West for much of it.
“Working in the local courts based in rural New South Wales has been and remains very rewarding,” he said.
“The work of the court is wide-ranging in nature and every day I look forward to how I can contribute.
He currently sits full-time on the Northern Tablelands circuit, presiding over the local court benches in Armidale, Glen Innes, Tenterfield and Walcha.
“Each case is different with its own unique set of circumstances,” he said.
I always take into account the interests of the community as a whole, the victim or victims and the offender, balancing those interests to ensure justice is served.Magistrate Michael Holmes
“I always take into account the interests of the community as a whole, the victim or victims and the offender, balancing those interests to ensure justice is served.
“The extension of this work with community groups is particularly pleasing.
“I feel very humbled by the award and very fortunate to work within this region and with the community.”
Since 2005, Magistrate Holmes has sat in courts in Boggabilla, Warialda, Mungindi, Moree, Inverell, Tamworth, Quirindi, Scone, Armidale, Glen Innes, Walcha and Tenterfield.
He is also an advisory board member for the University of New England’s School of Law.