A friendly face in court
FOR many people who go through the local courts, Christine Lynch is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise daunting experience.
Christine is the co-ordinator of the Mossman Elders Community Justice Group, an organisation set up to help indigenous members of the community through the court system.
The first port of call for many, Christine has a lot on her plate, lending a friendly ear to people who have fallen foul of the law.
“Sometimes people just want a kind word, a friendly ear. I may not be able to solve all their problems but just having someone to come in and talk to” makes a difference, said Christine.
She was nominated as Douglas Citizen of the Year recently at the Australia Day Awards, and while she didn’t win, Susie Sampson, the court registrar at Mossman Magistrates Court said that she nominated her for going above and beyond for anyone that needs help, not just within her role helping the indigenous community.
“I nominated Christine because she works tirelessly for this community ... Christine goes far out of her way with any issue that someone comes to her with. So it may not be in her scope but she’s there helping that person, and that’s any time of the day,” said Ms Sampson.
As Christine said on Australia Day, and as she told the
she doesn’t do it for the recognition.
In her role, Christine is called on by the magistrate to inform the court of the personal circumstances surrounding her clients, to suggest options and act as a bridge between them and support services. To say that’s a lot of responsibility is an understatement.
Her love of the community and soft spot for those who come to her for help keeps her going. “I’m worried that if I’m not here, who’s going to look after people in crisis?”
“I get up in the morning because it’s a beautiful community, and I’ve got soft spots for a lot of people that come through that door. As much as I try and help them, they also make my day as well because they share their stories. Some are so funny, some are so heartbreaking.
“I take a lot of that home with me, because it doesn’t just stop when I walk out of this courthouse at 4:30.
“You see on court day, people are shaking with stress, and if we can just have a bit of a laugh to lighten it so they’re not so stressed when they get in there.”
Christine gave credit to the community elders for helping her in her role. “I have wonderful elders, the local elders are wonderful ladies. It’s great to hang out with them to hear their stories as well, but also work with passionate people in the community. They’re all passionate just like I am.”
Coordinator of the Mossman Elders Community Justice Group Christine Lynch