Making history, Judge David MacLean has been appointed as a District Court judge of Western Australia, the first Indigenous person to do so.

Appointed in 2018, Judge MacLean was the first Indigenous man to become a Magistrate in WA and was first admitted to practice in 1991.

Since then, he has had a positive impact on the legal fraternity.

Between 1998 and 2001 Judge MacLean worked with the Aboriginal Legal Services before joining the Director of Public Prosecution in 2007.

The Attorney General of WA, John Quigley explained the appointment and the links Judge MacLean has to the Pilbara region.

“[Judge] MacLean is an Aboriginal man whose kinship links are in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, and Mulga Downs Station in particular,” Attorney General Quigley said.

“It is believed he is the first Aboriginal judge appointed in Western Australian history … I am aware that there have been appointments of Aboriginal people to the magistracy in the past, but this is the first that I am aware of to either the District Court or Supreme Court in Western Australia.”

The Attorney General said he hopes Judge MacLean is the first of many Indigenous people who reach the elite level of District Court judge in the future.

Judge MacLean joins the ranks of esteemed Indigenous judges such as Judge Robert Bellear who was appointed as the first Indigenous Australian District Court judge 1996 in NSW, Judge Matthew Myers appointed a Judge for the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in 2012, and most recently Judge Nathan Jarro to the District Court of Queensland in 2018.

By Caris Duncan