A friendly face in court

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

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.”

Picture: SCOTT TIB­BALLS

Co­or­di­na­tor of the Moss­man El­ders Com­mu­nity Jus­tice Group Chris­tine Lynch

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