Serving as a justice of the peace for more than 50 years, Safety Bay’s Bruce Bailey has many interesting stories to tell.
While working as a prison officer in several WA prisons, Mr Bailey said he had always been interested in the judicial process and decided to sign up to volunteer as a JP in 1968.
There are nearly 3000 JPs in WA. They are appointed by the Governor, who authorises them to carry out a wide range of official administrative and judicial duties in the community.
Part of the role involves police officers regularly calling in on Mr Bailey to sign documents such as search warrants.
However, when he first started the job, Mr Bailey’s frequent visits by police got his neighbours talking.
“In the 1970s I lived in Mt Pleasant and there was a lady living in the same street a few doors down,” he said.
“She was a busybody and knew all about people’s business and so when she saw the police coming and going from my place she became suspicious and told all of our neighbours that I was a ‘bad man’.”
Mr Bailey had to undergo two years training to become a JP, which included having to take part in several mock court trials where participants would be assessed on their knowledge of the legal system.
Earlier this month Mr Bailey was recognised for his service and was awarded a Volunteer Service Award by WA Governor Kim Beazley at a reception at Government House.
The awards recognised 53 long-serving volunteers from around the State and coincided with International Volunteer Day, held around the world annually on December 5.