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Justice Richard David Chetwynd from England was appointed and sworn in at the State Office in February, 2015.

Biography

My father was a British soldier and when I was born he happened to be stationed at Woolwich in the east of London. I was actually born in the Royal Woolwich Arsenal the place from which a certain football club takes its name. My family home is in central Wales near a place called Newtown so I have always considered myself welsh.

I went to Brunel University in West London in 1972. After obtaining my degree in law I worked for a firm of Solicitors in Salisbury, Wiltshire. I qualified as a solicitor and my name was entered in the Roll in 1978.

I moved to Cornwall in the west of England and worked as an assistant solicitor in several firms until 1986 when I joined a small practice named Bennet & Co. based in Truro, Cornwall.

In 1989 I was recruited by the Overseas Development Administration (now known as DIFD) as the Resident Magistrate for the Province of Malaita in the Solomon Islands. In 1991 I moved to Guadalcanal as the Chief Magistrate and Registrar of the High Court. I was also appointed as Commissioner and presided over several High Court criminal trials.

In early 1993 I resumed my work as a Partner in the firm of Bennet and Co. In 1996 I started my own business as a sole practitioner under the name of R D Chetwynd & Co in the Cornish surfing town of Newquay.

In 1998 I was offered the opportunity to return to the Solomon Islands as Registrar and to train a local Magistrate as Registrar. The project was funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat. Unfortunately towards the end of 1999 the situation in Honiara deteriorated and the Magistrate I was training, Mr Nelson Laurere, was badly beaten by a group of Malaitan men and he had to go into hiding. Some months later there was a coup.

After the coup I was asked by the Chief Justice if I would take on the role of Chief Magistrate as well as Registrar. That work continued until RAMSI arrived and Nelson Laurere could resume his training. I continued sitting as a Commissioner throughout this period.

I left the Solomon Islands in 2006 and took up employment as Master and Registrar of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone until 2008. This placement was funded by the British Council.

My wife and I returned to the UK but for family reasons had to move to near London so that Stephanie could take care of her sick mother. I found employment as the Local Land Charges Officer in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

In 2010 I was asked if I wanted to return to Solomon Islands as a Judge of the High Court in a placement funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat. Stephanie had to remain in the UK to continue caring for her mother. After 2 years and with all the difficulties of travelling to the UK I decided to find work closer to home.
I applied for the post of Registrar of the Supreme Court of Turks and Caicos Islands. I moved to Grand Turk the capital of the country to work with an old colleague, Justice Edwin Goldsbrough, who had been appointed as Chief Justice. Not long after taking up the post Stephanie’s mother sadly passed away and so she was able to join me.

In 2014 I learnt of the possibility of appointment as a Judge in Vanuatu funded by Commonwealth Secretariat. I applied for the post and was accepted. I arrived in Port Vila and was sworn in in February 2015.


Chronology

Educated at Brunel University from 1972 to 1976

Upon graduating employed as an Articled Clerk with Trethowans, Solicitors of Salisbury in Wiltshire.

After articles employed as Assistant Solicitor with J D Leadley- Brown & Co in Callington Cornwall and then moved to Messrs Gill Akaster Leest & Russell in Plymouth and then settled as Litigation Manager for the firm of Bennett and Co in Truro, Cornwall.

I was offered a partnership in Bennett and Co in 1986.

In 1989 employed as Resident Magistrate, Malaita Province, Solomon Islands. This was funded by ODA (now known as DIFD). In 1991 moved to Guadalcanal and took up post of Registrar of High Court, Chief Magistrate and was also appointed as a Commissioner of the High Court.

In 1993 returned to the UK as partner in Bennett & Co.

In 1996 set up as a sole practitioner in Newquay in Cornwall.

In 1998 returned to Solomon Islands as Registrar and with the brief to train a local Magistrate as Registrar. This work was funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat. In late 1999 early 2000 there was civil unrest culminating in a coup in June 2000. The Australian Chief magistrate left the country and I was asked to take on the role of Chief Magistrate and was again appointed as Commissioner.

In 2006 I left Honiara to take up the post of Master and Registrar of the Supreme Court in Sierra Leone, West Africa funded by the British Council

I returned to the UK in 2008 and found employment as the Local Land Charges Officer for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

In 2010 I returned to the Solomon Islands ads Judge of the High Court funded by Commonwealth Secretariat.

In late 2012 I left Honiara to take up the post of Registrar of the Supreme Court of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

In 2015 I took up the post of Judge of the Supreme Court in Vanuatu.