Jonathon Priestley SC will cover the Coffs Harbour and Grafton circuit taking up his new role on Monday, February 10.
Jonathon Priestley SC will cover the Coffs Harbour and Grafton circuit taking up his new role on Monday, February 10.

Judicial silk bound for Coffs Harbour

A highly experienced lawyer with a legal career spanning more than three decades has been named as the first District Court judge based at Coffs Harbour.

Jonathon Priestley SC will cover the Coffs Harbour and Grafton circuit taking up his new role on Monday, February 10.

Judge Priestley was first admitted as a legal practitioner in the Northern Territory and practised as a solicitor in NSW and England before coming to the Bar in 1995.

Appointed a Senior Counsel in 2014, his practice areas ranged from property litigation to family law.

“Judge Priestley came to the bench with a reputation for hard work and in his first year has already proven to be a valuable asset to the District Court,” Attorney General Mark Speakman said.

A number of other judges will begin sitting full time in regional NSW in 2020 including Judge Graham Turnbull SC, presiding at Bathurst, Orange and Parkes; Judge Sean Grant at Albury and Griffith; Judge Nanette Williams at Dubbo; and Judge Jeffrey McLennan SC at Lismore.

Judge Priestley is one of seven new judges appointed to the District Court under the NSW Government’s $148 million package, bringing the number of full time District Court judges to a record high of 75 to help the state’s courts manage increasing demand.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh has welcomed the appointment saying more District Court sittings in Coffs Harbour means faster finalisations for cases, reducing pressure on victims, witnesses and defendants.