Courthouse volunteers say goodbye after 11 years
“THERE was one guy who just fell off the fence – he was dead drunk.”
Mondays may have a bad rap but, for one Lockyer Valley couple, the day is never dull.
But, after more than a decade of volunteering at their local courthouse, Phil and Anne Semple have decided it’s time to hand in their badges and uniforms.
With front row seats at Gatton Magistrates Court, the pair have seen it all – court cases involving drugs, family disputes, burglaries, business crime and assaults.
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Twice a week, they would head to court to volunteer their time, helping to keep the system flowing.
It began 11.5 years ago when Anne was intrigued by an ad calling for people willing to join volunteers in policing.
“I thought it would be right up my ally … Everybody has their own niche, what they’re good at, and I saw it as something I could get my teeth into,” Anne said.
“I think our police do a fantastic job and I’ve always wanted to support them because they’re our unsung heroes.
At a Volunteers in Policing meeting, Anne met a police prosecutor in need of an extra pair of hands in court.
“So, I watched the prosecutors at court and saw where I could help and learned and found my little niche,” Anne said.
A year later, Phil joined her, the pair becoming an integral part of the court.
The role quickly evolved to include helping the magistrate as well as community members appearing in court.
“Helping everyone in the courtroom, the magistrate and the clerk, just makes the flow so much smoother,” Phil said.
And those appearing in court for the first time have been able to look to the duo for direction.
“They have lots of questions … When we get someone who has never been in court before, they feel at sea,” Anne said.
“They’re very nervous and agitated so we try and put them at ease.”
Yesterday, the pair resigned, after mulling it over during the coronavirus closure.
Read more stories by Ebony Graveur.