Appointment of Principal Youth Court JudgeAttorney-General
The Attorney General Margaret Wilson has announced the appointment of District Court Judge Andrew Becroft of Wanganui as the Principal Youth Court Judge.
Judge Becroft replaces Judge David Curruthers, who was earlier in the month appointed as the Chief District Court Judge.
Judge Becroft was educated at Rongotai College, Wellington and at Auckland University. He was appointed to the bench in 1996 after working for several years as a barrister sole in South Auckland. Previously Judge Becroft was one of two founding solicitors of the Mangere Community Law Centre. His career began in 1980 as an employee of the Fortune Manning Law Partnership; in which he achieved Associate status in 1985.
Judge Becroft is married to Philippa Becroft, who is also a lawyer. They have three children: Sam, aged 5; Anna, aged 4; and Isaac; aged 7 months.
The Principal Youth Court Judge has the administrative and management responsibility for the work of more than 40 District Court Judges who also work in the Youth Court.
Youth Court judges are the only judges to have jurisdiction where a young person has allegedly offended (except in cases of murder and manslaughter). Where possible young offenders are diverted from court. If they need to appear in court they are dealt with constructively with an emphasis on long-term rehabilitation. The emphasis is on restorative justice and the family group conference is the lynchpin of the system.
Other people involved in the Youth Court process are Youth Justice Co-ordinators, Youth Justice Social Workers and Youth Advocates.
Margaret Wilson said Judge Becroft's background of community service and legal advocacy for less advantaged citizens, combined with his success as a Judge would serve him well in the challenging but rewarding work of the Youth Court.