IT IS a challenge being a magistrate and there are risks with high profile cases but Anita Bacca, based at Bosim in Milne Bay Province, does it to build the community, ensure people know their rights and share information and knowledge.
There is no police support in Bosim, the nearest police station is a one-and-a-half hour boat ride away. But Anita finds her job to be rewarding.
ROXANNE - How long have you been a village court magistrate?
ANITA - Six years now.
Roxanne - Why have you chosen to be a magistrate?
Anita - I guess because of problems I had and needed to study law. I went through a lot of problems and needed to understand my rights.
Roxanne – What’s the best thing about being a magistrate?
Anita - It's good to raise awareness and share what you have. As soon as I got the opportunity I accepted training.
Roxanne - What motivates you?
Anita - Seeing people know their rights. Awareness so people know about the law. You get to know different problems and you get to know people you didn't know before. It's challenging but I get to know a lot of people. There are different places and religions.
Roxanne - What is the court hearing process?
Anita - When we have court cases we have magistrates and a peace officer and elders to witness the case.
Roxanne - What is the hardest part of being a magistrate?
Anita - I find it easier to get around now with a dinghy. During cases you have to think clearly. We are not at a higher level, we are at a grassroots level and we charge according to their level. You need to be a good listener.