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Australia Call to investigate magistrate's affair with younger court clerk

23:35  23 october  2019
23:35  23 october  2019 Source:   9news.com.au

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Victoria's judicial watchdog has been requested to investigate a 68-year-old country magistrate over his affair with a court clerk 40 years his junior.

Magistrate Rodney Higgins met 23-year-old Ashleigh Petrie at work and the couple is now engaged.

The unconventional love match has caused a stir in the state's legal circles.

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Shadow Attorney-General Ed O'Donohue has now written to the Judicial Commission of Victoria about Mr Higgins' suitability as a magistrate.

a man and a woman sitting at a table posing for the camera: Magistrate Rodney Higgins' engagement to Ashleigh Petrie has drawn attention.© A Current Affair Magistrate Rodney Higgins' engagement to Ashleigh Petrie has drawn attention.

Mr O'Donohue has raised new allegations about a serious drinking problem and Mr Higgins' relationship with Ms Petrie as reasons for an investigation.

The couple has been open about their relationship and posted photos of themselves together on social media.

The Gippsland magistrate proposed to Ms Petrie while on holiday in Fiji last month.

"The allegations, which if true, raise serious concerns about his capacity to perform his judicial duties," Mr O'Donohue told the Herald-Sun.

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Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said earlier that on the advice she had received, no rules had been broken by the couple's relationship.

a group of people posing for the camera: The couple became engaged during a holiday to Fiji last month.© A Current Affair The couple became engaged during a holiday to Fiji last month.

The watchdog will formally notify Mr Higgins about the complaint and give him an opportunity to ­respond.

Mr Higgins is the third magistrate to be publicly referred to the Judicial Commission of Victoria since it was established in 2017.

EXCLUSIVE: Court clerk, 23, killed after her relationship with a magistrate, 68, was exposed 'hoped an investigation into the controversial paring would expose the toxic culture within the system where she worked' .
The court clerk who was killed weeks after her relationship to an elderly magistrate became public secretly hoped the court's 'toxic culture' of sexual intimidation would be exposed. 1/10 SLIDES © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Miss Petrie excitedly accepted and called him 'the love of her life' after he proposed. The couple is pictured together 2/10 SLIDES © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Ashleigh Petrie's last post on Instragram. She stated she had been in Metung - posting a peaceful photo of her view.

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