Retired Bay magistrate looks back on most shocking cases
AFTER almost 50 years working in the Queensland courts system, it takes a fair bit to shock Hervey Bay's retired magistrate Graeme "Rocky" Tatnell.
In his time working as a magistrate, Mr Tatnell sentenced thousands of criminals from Ipswich to Townsville, and spent the last 13 years of his career working in Hervey Bay before retiring on Friday.
FRASER COAST TOP STORIES
After decades of experience, Mr Tatnell said the most shocking matter he dealt with was heard before Hervey Bay Magistrates Court in January this year, when a man pleaded guilty to stealing a bank card from a dying father in Urraween.
The man's co-accused is still going through court.
"It was one of the most appalling things that I had to deal with," he said.
Mr Tatnell said cases rarely stuck in his mind, but highlighted a horrific alleged stabbing from about three years ago as one of the more shocking matters he dealt with.
"She was a solicitor who worked at a community legal service, and a man who was on ice broke into her home and stabbed her," Mr Tatnell said.
"He didn't kill her, but she lost her sight."
Mr Tatnell also recalled another matter he dealt with, where two young men caused a large amount of property damage, just by using their heads.
"I had two fellows who I transferred to Rockhampton. They were going from a nightclub and had a competition as to how many fence posts they could break with their heads on the way home," he said.
"They caused thousands of dollars' worth of damage."
Following more than 30 years working as a magistrate in Queensland, Mr Tatnell said it was an isolating role to play in a community.
"Being a magistrate is a lonely life, except that I refused not to attend the golf club twice a week," Mr Tatnell said.
"But you can't go out to pubs or anything like that."
Mr Tatnell said he was going to miss the Hervey Bay courthouse staff the most.
During a valedictory ceremony held at the Hervey Bay courthouse on Friday, Mr Tatnell said he was planning to return as an acting magistrate in the future, but was looking forward to taking a holiday in the near future.
One of the guests at the valedictory was Queensland Department of Justice Director-General David Mackie, who brought up the criticisms of Mr Tatnell's sentencings by 2GB radio host Ray Hadley.
Mr Mackie said although Ray had not wished Mr Tatnell farewell, he had "come around" to describe the magistrate as "respectful".
"You are respectful to all people in the same way," Mr Mackie said.
"From the defendants who call you 'mate', to the ones that call you 'your majesty'."