Drug Court pioneer judges it’s time to retire

The Senior Judge of the NSW Drug Court has decided to hang up his gown after dedicating 50 years to the justice system.

Attorney General Mark Speakman paid tribute to Judge Roger Dive, who will officially retire on 6 August, saying Judge Dive’s work had changed an extraordinary number of lives across NSW.

“Judge Dive’s compassion for, understanding of, and dedication to, the people who appear before him is well known in the legal sphere,” Mr Speakman said.

“His Honour developed and implemented the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court within the Children’s Court more than 20 years ago and his leadership of the NSW Drug Court since 2004, has been a major factor in its success.

“His humanity, humility and intelligence are some of his most outstanding attributes. These qualities do not remain inside the court room, as evidenced by the 60 children he and his wife, Linda, have fostered over the years. I wish him all the best for his retirement.”

Judge Dive left school expecting to be a vet or a carpenter, before he came to law. His early working life was in the then Court of Petty Sessions at Circular Quay, before he was posted to Muswellbrook, Queanbeyan and Grenfell.

“I learned a great deal more in the country courts than simply law. I began to absorb the multitude of different human stories, and I have never tired of hearing them,” Judge Dive said.

He was appointed as a magistrate in 1989, head of the Children’s Court in 2000, before becoming a District Court judge and Senior Judge of the Drug Court four years later.

“My years at the Drug Court have been the most exciting and interesting of my working life. At the Drug Court we have the resources and skills to help some of the most troubled offenders achieve more in life than they ever believed possible while, at the same time, helping make the community safer,” Judge Dive said.

In June, the NSW Government announced $27.9 million for a new Drug Court at Dubbo. It currently sits at Sydney, Parramatta and Toronto and is proven to be more efficient at driving down crime than prison. The multi-agency, intensive rehabilitation it provides is more cost effective than jailing offenders.

“In retirement, I plan to volunteer to work with those who have ended up homeless, spend more time with Linda, our children and grandchildren and, at last, become that carpenter and build a kayak with beautiful Australian timbers,” Judge Dive said.

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