The Victorian government has announced the appointment of four new judges to the Magistrates Court of Victoria.
Letizia Torres, Jacqueline Billings, Randall Kune and Stephen Ballek will bring three additional magistrates to the Magistrates Court.
The fourth replaces former magistrate Sarah Dawes after her appointment as a County Court judge in August.
Ms Torres holds a Bachelor of Laws from the Australian National University and will leave her role as a barrister to take up her position. She has more than two decades of experience in a range of criminal matters across the magistrates, county and supreme courts.
She has appeared for the Department of Health and Human Services in County and Supreme Court reviews and applications under the Crimes (Menal Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997.
Ms Billings has been a solicitor for over 25 years. She has practiced in family law, family violence matters, child protection and crime. As a family law specialist, she has acted as an independent children’s lawyer and appeared before the family and criminal divisions of the Children’s Court.
She has previously presided over the Gippsland Law Association and has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics from Monash University.
Also an alumni of Monash University, Mr Ballek has been the principal solicitor advocate at the Office of Public Prosecutions and has held a number of roles at the office since 2005.
Mr Ballek was a barrister specialising in criminal law from 1994 to 2000.
Mr Kune has spent the last 17 years at the Bar. Over this time, he has practiced primarily in the criminal and family divisions of the Children’s Court.
He holds a Master of Laws and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and co-authored Advocacy Manual: The Complete Guide to Persuasive Advocacy.
Congratulating them on their appointments, Attorney-General Martin Pakula said, “The four new magistrates bring many decades of collective experience to the Magistrates Court of Victoria.”
He also thanked Ms Dawes for her service at the Magistrates Court.