After a long search to find a new face of justice for the West Kimberley, the Broome Courthouse recently welcomed back a familiar figure. Magistrate Stephen Sharratt was appointed the new sitting magistrate late last month to fill the vacancy left by Magistrate Elizabeth Langdon, who took another job in Melbourne. Mr Sharratt said his role is to look at every case as objectively as possible, something that comes into focus when social media commentators call for tougher penalties. “I have to apply penalties that are consistent around the State and obey the law in doing so and I certainly intend on continuing to do that here,” he said. “I can understand when people get sick of repetitive offending but I think with the way laws are set up, particularly for juveniles, it’s better for them to be rehabilitated than to just be punished. “A lot of juveniles will commit a couple of offences but after that’s dealt with, it’s the last you’ll see of them. Obviously there becomes a stage where the community welfare has to be put above the needs of the offender, so consistent offenders will have to be locked up, but I’ve got to apply it very evenly and fairly. Even if everyone is raging around, I must be steadfast and apply the law as it is rather than reacting to the barometer to whatever people say on Facebook or anywhere else.” Mr Sharratt said he was familiar with the territory because he was the sitting magistrate for Broome several years ago before moving down to Perth to oversee Midland Magistrate’s Court. “I was always keen on getting back up to Broome but I don’t think I was the only applicant,” he said. “Maybe it was because I have been around for a while or because I went for a bike ride with the chief magistrate once but I have managed to get back up here. “It’s better here than most places because I’ve got more time. “In Midland it was common for me to have more than 100 people on the list so it felt like I just had to make my way through the list. “Here in Broome, there’s less people but they’ve got more complex needs so I guess my role is to try and explain the effect of the order in the most simple terms so people can understand where I am coming from.” Mr Sharratt said he was open to helping educate people about the court process, including mock trials for students.