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Six Community Magistrates appointed

Hon Simon Power

Minister of Justice

26 November 2008
Media Statement


Six Community Magistrates appointed

Justice Minister Simon Power today announced that the Governor-General has appointed six new Community Magistrates for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty region.

Community Magistrates are judicial officers who hear and determine a range of cases at the lower end of the criminal summary jurisdiction, such as theft, disorderly behaviour, and driving-related charges.

"The Ministry of Justice recognises the value of Community Magistrates, and the new appointees will enhance the current complement," says Mr Power.

The six new Community Magistrates are: Jack Best, Sherida Cooper, Susan Margaret Hovell, Lesley Kaye Jensen, Ngaire Mascelle, and Kathryn Munro Wilson.

"These new Community Magistrates were selected based on their experience and education, their involvement in the community, and their awareness of the rights of others and of the diversity of New Zealand’s society."

The Community Magistrates pilot started in Waikato/Bay of Plenty in 1999, and aimed to improve access to justice and the level of service provided to communities through increased community involvement in the justice system.

In 2007, a comparison of four larger Community Magistrates courts to similar-size courts that do not use Community Magistrates, found that the courts that do use them performed significantly better with regard to case disposal and timeliness.

The Community Magistrates scheme became a permanent feature of the justice system in March 2008 and operates only in Waikato/Bay of Plenty.

The Ministry is reviewing options for expanding the use of Community Magistrates as part of broader work on reducing pressures on the courts system.

Brief biographies of the six new Community Magistrates follow.


Brief biographies of the six new Community Magistrates:

Jack Best has a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Industrial Psychology & Education and has been a professional member of the Human Resources Institute NZ since 1991. He was a commissioned officer NZDF Air Training Corps from 1979 to 1991. From 1992 to 2001 he was the Director of Professional Human Resources Advisory Services Ltd, providing a wide range of human resources services to client companies. From 2001 to 2003 he was the Human Resources Director at Waiariki Technical Institute. Since February 2003 he has been the Human Resources Consultant with Waikato District Health Board, and this included a secondment to Midland Region DHBs as the HR Pandemic Planner. Mr Best is a Justice of the Peace.

Sherida Cooper has a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Hons), and a Diploma in Secondary Teaching. She worked with Work and Income from 1994 to 2000 starting as a Regional Accountant and ending as National Manager Service Solutions. From 2000 to 2006 she was Manager Customer Services of Bay of Plenty District Health Board and for the past two years has been Business Manager Non Clinical Services. She is also a director of Credit Union Health. She is a Justice of the Peace.

Susan Margaret Hovell has an LLB and is an Associate of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand and of the Real Estate Institute of NZ. She has a Diploma in Business Studies, a National Certificate in Adult Teaching, and a Master in Property Studies. Ms Hovell has been a Lecturer – Adjunct with the Open Polytechnic of NZ and Massey University since 1997, predominantly involved in a national diploma programme. She is also the co-ordinator of a land law summer school paper and is an NZQA Assessor.

Lesley Kaye Jensen has a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business and Administration. After working briefly at Lincoln University, and for three years for ACC in Christchurch, Ms Jensen moved to Tauranga where she joined Western Bay Health, working in Health Promotion and Community Services. From 1996 to 1998 she was a Public Health management consultant and took over the management of the family farm for a 12 month period in 2001. She has served six years as a lay member on the Bay of Plenty Medical Ethics Committee, has been a committee member for the Pyes Pā community newsletter since 2001 and chair of the Pyes Pā School Board of Trustees for the past five years.

Ngaire Mascelle has an LLB (Hons) and papers towards a Bachelor of Business Studies (Accounting) and Stage 3 NZCE (Telecommunications) and Telecommunications First Qualifying Examination (Skilled linesman). After an early career with NZ Post and Telecom NZ, Ms Mascelle undertook extramural studies while raising five children. Initially she studied accountancy, including business law, and this led her to a law degree. Her dissertation included resource management and international environmental law. Though admitted to the bar, she chose to do studies towards an LLM rather than get a practising certificate. She was a director of Ruamahunga Timber Company Ltd, her husband’s joinery business from 2000 to 2006. Her iwi affiliation is Whakatohea and Ngati Whakaue.

Kathryn Munro Wilson has a Bachelor of Arts, a Diploma in Teaching, a Post Graduate Diploma in Special Needs Resource Teaching and a Masters in Special Education. Ms Wilson taught in low-decile schools for 18 years until 1998 and was one of the first teachers to have a Kaiāwhina Reo working in her room, the beginning of te reo in mainstream New Zealand schools. In 1998 she became a Resource Teacher (Learning and Behaviour) working with students aged 5 to 15 years with learning and behavioural needs. Ms Wilson is a Justice of the Peace.

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