Award for human touch in judiciary

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 02/06/2014

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The last registrar of the Feilding courthouse has been honoured for decades of service to the justice process.

Clive Asplin has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to justice and the community.

Asplin started his career in the judiciary as a clerical cadet in Whanganui before working as a registrar at the Feilding courthouse from 1974 until it closed in 2011 because of earthquake risks.

The Feilding District Court moved to Palmerston North Courthouse, and Asplin with it, until it was amalgamated into Palmerston North last year.

During his time in the role he got to know many defendants by name, greeted everyone with a warm "kia ora" and often bantered with the defendants about their lives outside the courtroom.

He has been praised by many in the legal profession - including Judge Les Atkins, QC, who started practising law in Feilding in 1976 - for his unique style and broad knowledge of the court system.

Asplin said his style came about from working in a smaller court.

"I give tribute to any staff in any small court who are able to treat their clients - as I used to call them - with a more personal approach," he said. "I feel quite pleased that in the community I can go down the street and still say hello to many people, regardless of the nature of their past conduct."

The full spectrum of the community went through the courts in his time, and dealing with them was an enjoyable part of the job, he said.

Although he missed the people he worked with, he said he was being kept busy with other aspects of his life. Outside of the courts, Asplin has been a charter member of the Manchester Lions Club for 17 years.

He is also a member of the Manawatunes Barbershop Chorus, who are currently preparing for the Pan Pacific convention in Wellington, and is a celebrant for funerals and weddings.

Asplin said he was "awe-struck" when notified of his medal, and was privileged to accept the honour.

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- Manawatu Standard

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