“Sounds like a little bit of paradise,” Mr Anderson stated, “That it is sir, and along with my two nephews who I am their guardian, we enjoy our privacy and sanctuary,” I said. “So Dr Shaw, what are your thoughts on this appointment? We know that you already have a good understanding of law in the NT, so we think you would be perfect for the honourary job,” the AG Mr Trevenan asked me.
“Well sir, I will accept, but I will have to put this other legal matter ahead of any new appointment, as I was informed that it would be going to the Supreme Court,” I replied. “Excellent, be at Government House at 10am tomorrow, so the Administrator can make it all official,” the AG said in response.
“One last thing sir, can you recommend a good barrister to assist us with this community court case?” I asked, I certainly can, and I am sure that she will do it pro-bono for you, she will be in touch soon,” Mr Trevenan responded smiling.
After the AG and Magistrate had left the room, I sat down again to let what just happen sink in a bit. “Wow, I am to be a Justice of the Peace, how weird is that,” I said eventually. “Not weird, it is wonderful, great news for the community,” Harry said.
“I guess you will have to make one of the vacant shops into your JP office,” Tim stated, “Yeah, I guess, the one next to my practice is still vacant isn’t it?” I asked, “Yes, it is my friend, leave it to me and I will organise for it to be set up for you,” Tim said to me.
After the official business at Government house the next morning, we set off back home to Dundee, arriving just before lunch time, where as we guessed, a lot of the Community Council members were gathered awaiting our return.
I let Harry let those gathered know that we had won the NTCAT hearing, but the company announced right afterwards that they would be appealing the decision in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, and that a Barrister will be in contact in a day or two, to assist us with the case.
After having a quick lunch, I headed to the practice, where my nurse – Amanda was busy treating a bad case of sunburn. “Ah Dr Shaw, you have returned, how did it go?” she said as I stopped at the treatment room door, “All good, but it isn’t over, I am afraid” I replied.
“Dr Shaw, I was not sure if you were going to be back today, so I have contacted all of those booked in for this afternoon, to come anyway, and Amanda would attend to anything that she can handle. I will call them back now and let them know that you are back” Melanie said to me from the reception area.
The afternoon ended up being quite busy, with the last patient leaving the clinic just after 5.45 pm, and I thanked the ladies for all of their help while I had been away, as I grabbed my briefcase and began to walk to the door, and stopped.
“Oh one other thing, I was appointed a Justice of the Peace by the Attorney General of the NT this morning, so any enquiries, we will have to set up a second booking diary. Tim is organising to furnish the vacant office next door, for me too do any of that kind of work, so we will need to set aside some time every few days for JP work,” I announced to my staff.
“Wow, and you are already busy with what you have, with this added to it,” Amanda commented, “yes tell me about it, anyway, can one of you call into the newsagency and buy another booking diary for the JP work please,” I replied.
“Yes, Dr Shaw, I will do it first thing tomorrow,” Melanie replied, and I waved and headed outside, and jumped into my vehicle to go and collect Toby and head home. I was lucky enough to have the whole weekend free, so I could relax, well that is what I hoped anyway, I was just waiting for that to change.
On Saturday evening, we drove into Dundee to have dinner at the Tavern, and there was a good crowd gathered, some of them locals and others were weekenders. “James, I would like you to meet someone,” Harry said, as he stepped out from behind the bar, when he saw me and Toby arrive.
“Dr James Shaw, meet Ms Jessica Trevenan SC,” Harry said smiling, and it took me a moment to make the connection, “Hello, are you by any chance related to Mr Michael Trevenan?” I asked as I shook her hand, “I am indeed, I am his younger sister, and I also own a property in South Dundee, so I am happy to be the Barrister for the Dundee community, Pro-Bono of course,” the lady said to me.
“Well that is very generous of you, and we thankyou for your assistance with our little legal problem,” I said to Jessica, as I gave a small bow of the head, and Jessica laughed, “Oh this one is a real charmer, shame he bats for the other side,” she said softly, and the group gathered around us all laughed.
“Our local Doc is always a charmer, just wait till you meet his flying offsider,” June Wright stated, and right on cue, there was a flash of blue, and a loud squawk, as Blue beard landed on Toby’s shoulder. I couldn’t help but laugh at his perfect timing.
“Walk the plank,” he squawked, and I leaned over and gave him a scratch on his head. “Ms Trevenan, this little rascal is one of our wild, but permanent resident’s of my home property, his name is Blue Beard,” I said to Jessica, “Please call me Jessica, and my word he is a beautiful bird, where did he come from?” Jessica replied.
Toby nicked a hot chip from Tim’s dinner plate, and after blowing on it a few time, he held it up to Blue Beard, who happily accepted the treat, while I frowned at Toby for taking the hot chip. “Sorry Tim,” he said softly after he saw me frown at him. “That is ok Toby, I have just about had my fill of dinner,” he replied.
“Jessica, this is my youngest nephew, Toby Templeton, his older brother Reid, is away at boarding school, where Toby will be going next year. I am their guardian, after their parents were killed in an accident.
To answer your question, he is one of a number of smuggled birds that arrived when two seamen from a cargo ship jumped overboard near here,” I said as I introduced my nephew, and mentioned how Blue Beard came to be here.
“My brother informs me that you have quite a large jungle oasis just out of town, I would like to see it when we have some spare time,” Jessica said to me, “How about coming over for lunch tomorrow at around 12 noon, it is at the end of Launceston Road on the left, there is a high fence and double gates, just toot your car horn and I will open the gates,” I said to Jessica.
“That will be lovely, thankyou, but I can only stay till 2 pm, as I have to get back to Darwin to prepare for court in the morning,” Jessica replied. “Oh by the way, the two properties on the east side next ones down from your property are up for sale. First one at number 600, has a shed, a communal area and three cabins, while the other one at number 550, is mostly bush, with a small area of semi-cleared land,” Tim announced to me.
“Good, I will go and have a look at them tomorrow afternoon, can you arrange with the owners for me to inspect both properties at around 2 pm tomorrow please,” I replied. “Already done, I anticipated that you would want to see them, and I have arranged for you to see them at 3 pm, and it will add another 74 acres to your topical jungle,” Tim said to me.
“Yep, and makes a total of about 320 acres,” I replied smiling. “More work for the lads? They won’t be very happy!” Tim said to me, and I just laughed.
In the morning just four days later, Tim messaged me to say that he had completed the work on the JP office next door to the medical clinic, and that it was furnished and ready to go, including a sign at the front, “Dr J. Shaw - Justice of the Peace,” and under it was James’s mobile number.
I made a point of getting an early start, so I called out to Toby to hurry up, so I could drop him off at the bus stop and get into town to check out my new JP office, not sure what to expect. “Good morning Dr Shaw, Mr Hope passed on the key for your other office last night, so you can check it out before surgery starts today,” Melanie said to me as I entered the medical practice.
Placing my briefcase in my office, I stepped out of the surgery and turned right, to go to the office suite next door, where I saw the large wooden sign that Tim had mentioned, and I smiled, before unlocking the door and sliding it open and stepping inside.
The reception area had tiled floors, white with pale blue patterns, the reception counter was a simular blue colour, and leaning over it, I could see a brand new desktop computer, and next to it was a telephone, along with a desk calendar.
Passing the reception area, which has six comfortable chairs against the walls, the central passageway leads to a single door at the end and one on either side. Directly behind the reception counter, was a door leading into a staff kitchen and store room, with a small table and two chairs.
On the opposite side, was another door, that leads to a large office, in it is a large desk, office chair and a two door filing cabinet, with just a telephone on the desk.Going down the passageway, I checked the two rooms on either side of the end room, which were small offices that are empty, with one having an additional door that leads into the back room.
The end room was a large conference room, which has a large office table, with a comfortable leather chair behind the large table, located at one end. Behind the office chair is a full length jarrah cabinet, with six sliding doors, that reveal two jarrah shelves.
In the centre of the room, are two smaller desks that face the large desk, with two office chairs behind each desk. At the other end of the room are half a dozen chairs that face the other end of the room.
I smiled as I left the door slightly open and headed back to the front office, where I took a seat and looked around the office before opening the top drawer, where I found a full supply of pens, pencils, an eraser, pencil sharpener, and post-it note pads.
The second drawer contained a pile of A4 legal note pads, and nothing more, and the bottom drawer has a stack of empty files, and I closed the drawer, before opening the top drawer again and grabbing a note pad and pen and made a few notes of things that I need to bring into the office.
Once I was happy with the list on the pad, I headed out the door and locked the office suite before walking over to the surgery next door, and I settled into a busy day. I was a little surprised that I was getting a fairly full diary on most days of the week, even in such a small community.
At the end of the day, I finished cleaning up the consulting room, before walking out to the reception area, can you tell me are Wednesdays and Fridays already booked out?” I enquired to my receptionist, “Only in the mornings Dr Shaw,” she responded, after a quick glance of the booking diary.
“Good, I would like you to make sure those afternoons are kept cleared, from now on, so that I can be available for JP work, and so I can be available for medical emergencies on Saturday mornings, to make up for the half days on those two days,” I said to my receptionist. “Not a problem Dr Shaw, I will permanently block off those two afternoons,” Melanie said in reply.
When I arrived home that afternoon, after collecting Toby, I asked my nephew to do his home work, while do a bit of office work. In my home office, I located my two volumes of the Northern Territory Law Handbook, The NT Criminal Code Gazette and the Justice of the Peace Handbook.
After a bit of searching, I found two heavy book ends, also I found the folded Australian Flag, NT flag and the Indigenous Flag that were given to me as part of the official ceremony of me becoming a JP, and realising that I needed poles to hold the flags, which would be placed in the conference room that would be a court room if needed.
I picked up the phone and dialled a number that I knew by heart, and waited for the call to be answered. “Hello your worship, how may I help you?” a familiar voice said. “Pardon? Oh, yes I forgot about that bit,” I commented as I smiled.
“I need three flag poles to hold the three flags, to be placed in the conference room, which you have cleverly added to the office suite, laid out like a temporary court room. Can you see if you can arrange it with the council or someone who can make them up, they need to be about a foot short of the height of the ceiling, with a base,” I said to Tim.
“Not a problem your worship,” Tim said to me, and I groaned in annoyance, and Tim just chuckled. “Is there anything else, James?” Tim asked, “Nope, just that request thanks mate, bye for now,” I replied before ending the call.
Going to the store room, I retrieved a cardboard box and returned to the study and placed the books and flags, into them and left the box on the desk, before heading out to the lounge room to try and relax. The following morning before starting work at the surgery, I entered the office suite next door, carrying the box of books and flags, and I walked down the hallway to the conference room, and walked over to the main desk, and placed the box on my desk.
Pulling out the books, I placed them on the top of the cabinet, and placed the book ends to secure them in place, and I walked to near the centre of the room and looked back at where my seat is located, and I smiled.
Copyright Feb 2021 All Rights Reserved, Preston Wigglesworth