THE peak body representing Victorian lawyers has welcomed the appointment of one of its council members as a magistrate, despite his previous drink driving charges.
John O'Callaghan, who is also the chair of the LIV's Commercial Law Executive Committee, has been a partner at law firms Piper Alderman, Gadens, Slater and Gordon, and Riordan and Partners.
During the selection process, O’Callaghan advised an interview panel made up of Chief Magistrate Ian Gray, a Department of Justice representative and an independent third party that in 2003 he had his licence suspended for recording a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.07 while driving.
Despite this, the panel believed O’Callaghan had an impressive range of skills and recommended he be appointed to the court, where he would strengthen its civil jurisdiction.
LIV CEO Michael Brett Young said O'Callaghan would bring valuable experience to the role of magistrate.
"O'Callaghan has over 25 years experience in the law and has wide experience in family law, commercial law, and commercial litigation," he said.
Brett Young said it was important that any convictions were disclosed during the interview process, but this should not disqualify people from public life.
"I would not like to think that others are discouraged from seeking public office because of the glare of public attention on aspects of their life," he said.