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Collapse Issue 413 - 20 Feb 2017Issue 413 - 20 Feb 2017
Collapse  NEWS NEWS
Kathy Smith resigns due to return of cancer
Council withdraws Bullion St carpark from sale
Fines issued over pelican attack
Council presses Cabinet on channel dredging
Chief magistrate presses on with court changes
Lawyer receives scathing letter from chief magistrate
Labor branch condemns rail crossing decision
Demand for new villas and large homes
Time for a new Member, says Chamber
One Nation not registered for Gosford by-election
Belinda Neal may seek election for Gosford
Labor will have strong candidate, says senator
Liberal candidate to be announced soon
Best wishes for Kathy Smith
Third MP to resign due to illness or to die in office
Roads Minister visit was 'important', says MacDonald
Seven intersections, nine roads need funds - Chamber
Chamber warns of voter backlash
Nursing student seriously assaulted
Government insists election will be held on September 9
Let administrator merge planning schemes, says Wales
Gosford audit report delayed until March
More water refill stations
Premier confirms election timing
Progress association to hold annual meeting
New member at Rotary
Rotary donates defibrillator
Community fair
Stall raises funds for guide dogs
Cafe owner leaves 20-year fast food career
Travel expo attracts 30 service providers
Collapse  FORUM FORUM
No evidence new wharf is needed
Apply jetski ban to Central Coast
Disappointed to have been misquoted
Justification for underpass has been made
No wonder Trump is president
Collapse  HEALTH HEALTH
Lifeline offers counselling in Woy Woy
Collapse  ARTS ARTS
Eyeing the life of a travelling musician
Seasoned folk musicians play at Troubadour
Dancers come to Ettalong
Collapse  EDUCATION EDUCATION
Maintenance backlog tops $3M, say Shadow Minister
Volunteer ethics teachers sought
Former teacher dies
Yarning circle complete
Collapse  SPORT SPORT
PCYC gym club is small club of the year
Woy Woy bowler wins Hawaii trip
Women's golf club seeks playing members
Outstanding results in tough conditions
Hayden is junior lifesaver of the year
Social golf club celebrates 50 years
Annual match with blind cricket team
No victories for Peninsula teams

Lawyer receives scathing letter from chief magistrate

Mild-mannered local lawyer Mr Darrell Pannowitz has received a scathing letter from Chief Magistrate Judge Graeme Henson after asking him to reconsider plans to remove Local Court sittings from Woy Woy courthouse.

Mr Pannowitz said he had, during attempts to keep the Local Court at Woy Woy, exchanged letters with Judge Henson.

He said he had received a "scathing letter of personal attack...which may be shared later".

In responding, Mr Pannowitz wrote to Judge Henson: "I have no ulterior or commercial motive to suggest a review of the proposal as you suggest.

"With the greatest respect Your Honour, the real issue is the proposal to cease a local service to two of my local communities without consultation with those communities and court users.

"I appreciate, however, that the Courts' administrators do not have to consult and can impose their whim.

"Imagine the outcry if it was proposed without consultation to cease Local Court sittings at the city of Orange and move them to Bathurst because it is only 20 minutes drive.

"And then say to the people of Bathurst that the Children's Court sittings there have been totally withdrawn and from now on you can take your children to Orange since it is only a 20 minute drive.

"These cities have roughly equivalent populations to Wyong and the Woy Woy Peninsula.

"The basis of my reasonable suggestion for a review of the proposal is to improve the Local Court service at Woy Woy for its local citizens and to improve the Children's Court service at Wyong for its local citizens via improved listing arrangements and rostering of judicial officers including the new Magistrate."

Mr Pannowitz said he was not surprised Woy Woy Court operated so efficiently.

"No doubt that efficiency is aided by its location at Woy Woy and the cooperation and efficiency of the local legal profession.

"Imagine how more effective and efficient the Local Court at Woy Woy would operate for the benefit of the whole Central Coast if it were allocated additional listings and rostering of Magistrates to deal with matters that arise in its near locality.

"I understand that it is a fair estimate that about 25 per cent of the matters finalised in the Local Court Gosford arise in the Woy Woy, Umina, Ettalong Peninsula area.

"My respectful submission is that it is in the interest of justice to have those matters dealt with in the location where they arise.

"I understand the government chooses to prioritise funding to services other than the Local and Children's Courts.

"However, decisions to cease court sittings should not be made just on the number of matters coming before the courts or times which are, at the end of the day determined by listing arrangements and rostering clerks.

"Decisions should be based first and foremost on providing a local service to local communities.

"Local or Children's Court sittings servicing the local issues in a local facility is the face of justice in its local community, providing comfort to local citizens.

"It should be about service to a local community whether it is in Woy Woy, Wyong or Woop Woop.

"I maintain my view which is shared by other locals that the courts' services to the Central Coast can be improved by altered listing arrangements and rostering of judicial officers, not shutting down sittings and forcing court clients to go elsewhere.

"It is a pity that an alternate view to those in charge of a public service, born of genuine concern for local citizens and to maintain services to them with no ulterior motive, is treated with such rancorous disdain.

"I again implore you to revisit the listing arrangements and rostering and to at least maintain the status quo or preferably improve the service," Mr Pannowitz said.

"I hope not, but suspect this plea will most likely be disregarded".

Mr Pannowitz told Peninsula News the announcement had not been unexpected but meant "the Peninsula loses again".

"There was no preliminary proposal to discuss, no consultation with local Woy Woy practitioners or court users or clients," Mr Pannowitz said.

"It was a done deal but I am happy we attempted to stand up for our local community," he said.

Mr Pannowitz is a lawyer with Tonkin Drysdale Partners.

His voluntary community service includes serving on the board of the non-profit organisation which operates Peninsula Village and Cooinda Village retirement villages.

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