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First Aboriginal judge dies

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 16 March 2005

The country's first Aboriginal judge, Robert Bellear, has died.

The New South Wales chief judge at common law, Justice James Wood, has expressed his condolences to the District Court judge's family.

In the Court of Criminal Appeal this morning, Justice Wood said the community, the legal profession and Judge Bellear's colleagues will be all the poorer for his passing.

Judge Bellear was sworn in as a District Court judge in 1996 and was the only Aboriginal judge in New South Wales.

In 2002 he was nominated for a New South Wales Aboriginal Justice Medal for his work in improving access to justice for Indigenous Australians.

The 60-year-old had been absent from the bench on sick leave.

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