Graham Harris notches up 40 years as a JP

Williamstown's Graham Harris graciously accepts an award for 40 years of continuous membership as a Justice of the Peace from Barossa & Districts Justices Group chairperson Jacqueline Raphael. Photo: Maxine Chenoweth

Williamstown's Graham Harris graciously accepts an award for 40 years of continuous membership as a Justice of the Peace from Barossa & Districts Justices Group chairperson Jacqueline Raphael. Photo: Maxine Chenoweth

Four decades on and Graham Harris continues to find satisfaction in keeping the peace in the region when it comes to matters of the law.

The well known Williamstown identity was rewarded for his efforts on Thursday when he was presented a certificate for 40 years continuous membership to the Royal Association of Justices of South Australia as a JP in front of his peers.

"I feel great," he told Barossa Herald.

Mr Harris, the longest serving of just a handful of JPs from the town, was actually headhunted for the position in the late 1970s by police officer in charge at the time Mike Kotz.

"He came to me and knew I have worked for EWS (now SA Water), and said I must have some sort of sense," Mr Harris explained.

Agreeing to the idea, on March 15, 1979, he was appointed a JP.

It was also a era when JPs could become coroners and by the mid 1980s supported the town's next police office in charge Chris Gill.

The work included attending accident scenes and signing off on death certificates, one particular time at 2am, and other judicial matters.

More recently, and with changes to the legal system, Mr Harris now signs off on petty matters such as speeding fines.

"I see about 200 people per year yet I have also seen 46 people in the one week," he added.

Mr Harris said to continue as a JP he will need to reapply in 2022 and has not made up his mind.

On Thursday Mr Harris was joined by 20 fellow JPs from the region, including good friend Robert Brookes JP from Lyndoch, who congratulated him on his service.

The Barossa & Districts Justices Group meet five times a year, throughout the Barossa, Kapunda and Gawler, to brush up on the everchanging legal system through training; two meetings which also include hearing from guest speakers.

Dr Bruce Eastick AM will receive his 50 years of continuous membership to RAJSA Inc in 2020.