FOODIE, photographer and ... County Court judge.
Sara Hinchey, who grew up in Ballarat, was this week announced as Victoria’s next County Court judge.
She said it was an honour to join the bench.
“I was so honoured and excited to be approached and even considered for it,” she said.
A barrister for almost 20 years, Ms Hinchey has extensive private experience as well as time working on the ongoing Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
She said it was the right move for her after life as a lawyer.
“It’s a perfect time for a change,” she said. “It’s not too different from what I have been doing, but it will be a challenging role, certainly.”
The former Loreto College student’s links to Ballarat extend beyond childhood.
She was on the Ballarat Foto Biennale Festival board until last year, because of her passion for the arts.
“I did music and art at school and my mother’s an artist, she’s also a guide at the Ballarat art gallery,” she said.
“I thought (the Foto Biennale) was a fantastic thing for Ballarat.
“I wasn’t particularly a photographer at the time but through this I came to love photography as an art form.”
Ms Hinchey also runs truffle masterclasses under the sobriquet of the ‘Truffle Hunter’.
The transition from barrister to judge has already begun, but it would take some time for the formalities to sink in, she said.
“Someone called me judge today and I looked around me for a judge,” she said.
“It’s going to take some getting used to.”
The caseload of County Court judges runs from civil matters to violent and sexual crimes.
Ms Hinchey said there were risks of overexposure to traumatic cases but the courts took care of the judges.
“As a barrister you already deal with some pretty heavy subject matter,” she said.
“As a judge you see it more often ... the County Court handles the majority of litigation and some of those cases are pretty heavy, but they look after the judges.”