A magistrate has proposed to a court clerk who is less than half his age during a romantic trip to Fiji.
Magistrate Rodney Higgins – who is in his late 60s – proposed to his girlfriend Ashleigh Petrie, 23, last month.
Miss Petrie excitedly shared photos of their trip on social media and described Mr Higgins as the love of her life.
In the wake of their engagement, an email was sent around to court staff members on Monday, warning them of inappropriate relationships with judicial officers.
Amid complaints about Ms Petrie constantly entering the private chambers of Mr Higgins, the magistrate is due to be relocated to Bendigo from his current role at the Sale and Bairnsdale court circuit, The Herald Sun reported.
Peter Lauritsen, Victoria’s chief magistrate has reportedly been told by staff that Ms Petrie was entering Mr Higgins’ chambers.
Mr Lauritsen raised the issue twice with another magistrate, making it known the clerk was not allowed to do so, according to a source.
The 23-year-old was also spoken to about not using the Magistrate’s reserved car parks.
‘The Chief Magistrate has no comment on the personal lives of magistrates or staff,’ a spokesperson said on behalf of Mr Lauritsen.
Ms Petrie announced her engagement to the father-of-three and grandfather on Facebook during the end of last month.
‘What an amazing 10 days it has been here in Fiji! Firstly, I arrived as Rods girlfriend and I leave as rod fiancé! I cannot wait to become Mrs Higgins!’ she wrote online.
‘It started with a crush and now I have a ring on my finger. The love of my life asked me to marry him and I said YESSSS.’
‘I don’t know how I got so lucky to find such a sweet and caring man with the same sense of humour, this amazing man is the love of my life!’
During their trip the pair were spotted zip lining, meeting a Fijian tribe and swimming together in a holiday detailed in a series of romantic posts.