After-hours duties keep JP busy
A Pilbara-based Justice of the Peace has been recognised for 28 years of voluntary work with a WA Community Service Award.
JP duties routinely take Port Hedland man Gary Silcock into the night to help shift workers get documents signed.
He has over time learned to fill the niche of being available after office hours as he conducts most of his work at home between 6pm and 9pm. “I’m quite happy to do that because I know what the situation is where the husband works his 12 hours, six from six,” Mr Silcock said, referring to documents which partners both needed to be present to sign.
“There is no way in the world they can get to anybody else or the courthouse.”
Most of the time Mr Silcock presides over identification documents, but his role can have him signing police search warrants and being present at drug busts.
“A lot of stuff comes in by mail, illegal drugs and stuff, and they can’t open the packages without having a justice sign it,” he said.
Other major work the 74-year-old has seen come through is maritime security identification cards, which all port workers need to have; divorce settlements; and even land title documentation.
“Some of these divorce settlements are probably the worst,” he said. “There was one couple, it was going on for two years, I think it’s still going, but he came to me with 142 pages that had to be signed, so you know it’s not just five minutes.” He said he did not judge anyone who came to him and would not offer legal advice.
“I do not read it and I am not interested in what you wrote on a statute of declaration, you can tell as many lies as you like. My job is to make sure you are you when signing it,” he said.
Besides being a JP, Mr Silcock has worked across ports in the Pilbara for 56 years and continues to work part-time at the Port Hedland Seafarers Centre as a bus driver.
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