Lorraine Walker to head new Drug and Alcohol Court

Ian Bushnell 30 July 2019

The establishment of the Drug and Alcohol Court has meant a shuffle of positions in the courts. Photo: George Tsotsos.

ACT Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker has been appointed as an Acting Judge of the ACT Supreme Court, and will oversee the ACT’s first Drug and Alcohol Court (DAC).

Ms Walker will take up the role from 1 August for a 12-month period as final arrangements are being made for the DAC to be up and running by the end of the year.

The ACT Government hopes to reduce repeat offending where the cause is a substance addiction, with the new court offering sentencing options that include treatment orders.

 Lorraine Walker will oversee the ACT’s first Drug and Alcohol Court (DAC). Photo: University of Canberra.

Lorraine Walker will oversee the ACT’s first Drug and Alcohol Court (DAC). Photo: University of Canberra.

Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said the DAC aimed to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour by supporting offenders to deal with drug and alcohol addiction.

“The DAC will have significant long-term benefit for the ACT community,” he said.

“The appointment of Ms Walker to support this important initiative shows just how serious this Government is in its commitment to reducing recidivism and promoting restorative justice.”

He said Ms Walker brought a wealth of experience to the role, from nine years as a Magistrate and then Chief Magistrate for the Territory.

“Her professionalism and reputation ensures that this appointment will benefit the Supreme Court, the legal sector, and the wider ACT community,” Mr Ramsay said.

“Ms Walker is well-respected throughout the ACT legal profession and is known to have a strong commitment to therapeutic jurisprudence.”

Mr Ramsay also announced that sitting Magistrate Glenn Theakston will step in for Ms Walker as Acting Chief Magistrate, commencing 1 August.

Mr Theakston was appointed as a Magistrate in May 2016.

“Mr Theakston’s elevation to the Acting Chief Magistrate role is a testament to his strong leadership skills and positive contribution to the Magistrates Court,” Mr Ramsay said.

Margaret Hunter has been re-appointed as a Special Magistrate for an additional year, to bring her appointment out to 31 December 2020.


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