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Queensland Court of Appeal judge calls on Tim Carmody to decline promotion

Date

Natalie Bochenski

Tim Carmody could be promoted to chief justice.

Tim Carmody could be promoted to chief justice. Photo: Daniel Hurst

Chief Magistrate Tim Carmody has been officially approved as Queensland's next Chief Justice, despite being called upon to withdraw by a Court of Appeal judge.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie welcomed the appointment, describing Judge Carmody as "the ideal choice" for the important role. 

"Judge Carmody’s unique blend of skills and experience will give the Court the direction and drive to continue the great work of Chief Justice Paul de Jersey of meeting the challenges of a changing legal world,” he said.

“Judge Carmody’s appointment will begin on 8 July, 2014 and, on behalf of the Government, I thank and congratulate him for agreeing to serve Queensland.”

Earlier, Queensland Court of Appeal judge John Muir called on incoming Chief Justice Tim Carmody to withdraw from the position.

Justice Muir used a speech to a North Queensland Bar Association dinner on Wednesday night to discuss the controversial promotion of the current Chief Magistrate.

“I would hope that because of the unfortunate way in which this saga has unfolded, the obvious lack of support for the Chief Magistrate’s elevation to the office of Chief Justice of Queensland,…the Chief Magistrate will see that the only appropriate course is for him to withdraw,” he said.

“To take this course will require courage, but I do not apprehend that this is a quality that the Chief Magistrate lacks.”

Justice Muir is one of six Court of Appeal judges who form part of the Supreme Court bench.

Judge Carmody told Fairfax Radio 4BC last Friday that no one from the bench had congratulated him on his appointment, leaving him “surprised and hurt”.

Justice Muir told the Townsville dinner that Judge Carmody’s radio appearances were an “unseemly spectacle”, and expressed astonishment at him asking fellow judges if they were “friend or foe”.

“Does he take the approach: if you are not for me, you are against me?” Justice Muir said.  

“The Chief Magistrate seemingly fails to appreciate that he ought not be engaged in a popularity contest.”     

Justice Muir said it should have been left up to Premier Campbell Newman and Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie to explain and justify the merits of Judge Carmody’s appointment.

“It was not open to the appointee...if he wished to behave as a Chief Justice should behave and demonstrate independence, to effectively support the executive’s actions by publicly talking up his credentials,” he said.

“Ironically, the Chief Magistrate, when asserting his independence, was engaged in conduct that called it into question.”

Justice Muir also criticised Judge Carmody’s admission that he did not possess the same “intellectual rigour” as some of his colleagues.

“Would the selectors of the Australian cricket team contemplate, even momentarily, an Australian cricket team captain who was inferior in skills to the other team members?” he said.  

“Might not an accused in a criminal trial, a party to a civil litigation or a party to an appeal before his Honour expect and appreciate the application of intellectual rigour?

“Should not a Chief Justice’s colleagues be able to seek his or her informed opinions on a range of complex issues?”

The speech, to the North Queensland Bar Association’s Bi-Annual Court of Appeal Dinner, marks the first public comments by a sitting judge about Tim Carmody’s appointment and subsequent events.

Peter Davis QC resigned as president of the Queensland Bar Association claiming confidential talks he’d had with Mr Bleijie about the Chief Justice were leaked, and that he had no faith in the appointment process.

The Queensland Law Society and Australian Bar Association have backed Mr Davis’ stand for transparency.

12 comments so far

  • He won't decline , his ego is in the way and not to mention he is now Newman's boy. Just more proof we are returning to the day of the Moonlight State

    Commenter
    John
    Location
    Wynnum
    Date and time
    June 19, 2014, 7:55AM
    • Oh dear oh dear, Noddy has blotted his copybook yet again. Personally I'm extremely surprised he managed to find a spot that wasn't already obliterated, but then I guess he is intent on doing something properly, even if its ensuring he's done everything humanly possible to render his name mud for the next thousand years.

      Commenter
      Yes Minister
      Location
      Woop Woop
      Date and time
      June 19, 2014, 8:02AM
      • Totally agree with the legal eagles on this. Comedy...oops Carmody is a "political" appointment not the appropriate one. This seems to be the LNP attitude to appont mates or sycophants rather than capable people. It is a real concern when your life is on hold waiting for a decision from the supreme court where you would hope that only the most capable people are deliberating on your life rather than some political appointee who cares only for his political mates and what they want.
        If Comedy stays then the legal system in Queensland has become that much more broken. Why should people be subjected to the judgements of the supreme court when they are politically tainted or less competant ?

        Commenter
        Really
        Location
        Brisbane
        Date and time
        June 19, 2014, 8:34AM
        • Carmody's position is utterly untenable when now SITTING justices are getting stuck into it. The man will resign by the end of the week if he has any conscience or integrity whatsoever.

          He shouldn't owe the government any favours, so the fact this will make them look even more inept shouldn't come into that decision (although it will be a nice benefit).

          Commenter
          You
          Date and time
          June 19, 2014, 9:36AM
          • Here here. His Honour is spot on. By his comments since the announcement of his appointment, Carmody has demonstrated precisely why he is not fit for the high office of CJ.

            Commenter
            Pauline
            Date and time
            June 19, 2014, 9:46AM
            • And this is not political. And the Brisbane media aren't after Newman yet again for the umpteenth time. Nah not a chance. Bruvvers of the bar, if you don't like the new Chief Justice or the AG, and feel so strongly about it, resign from the bench and bar and go live in another state or retire, thus allowing other younger barristers and solicitors to advance. It is an outrage and beggars belief that a handful of senior judges and barristers are trying to infiltrate our democratic constitution-ruled political system which relies on the separation of powers enabling the government of the day, this current one having a massive majority, to make appointments such as the Chief Justice and Attorney General, particularly when they refuse to detail exactly why they are so infuriated. How about some formal charges against Carmody answerable naturally through defamation suits if warranted. It's OK for the bruvvers to be reported in the media but not the Chief Justice appointee. Come down from your cognac and cigars ivory tower for once.

              Commenter
              davey street
              Location
              hamilton
              Date and time
              June 19, 2014, 10:48AM
              • It is not democratic at all and any sensible "separation of powers" should not allow for the Premier of a State to appoint the Chief Justice of that State. For heaven's sake, Newman doesn't even believe in a "separation of powers"....he thinks that's just an eccentricity of the USA political system.

                Commenter
                PaxUs
                Location
                Austerelia
                Date and time
                June 19, 2014, 11:00AM
              • The outrage, in fact, is Newman and puppet Bleijie's destruction of democracy and the separation of powers.

                Commenter
                Marion says
                Date and time
                June 19, 2014, 2:32PM
            • Only the source of Sir Wally's Secrets need protection, Great Big Announcements of the Friary Realm are protected by political incredulity.

              Commenter
              Geronimo
              Location
              Yippee Yi Yo
              Date and time
              June 19, 2014, 12:55PM
              • Yep, the liberals can't appoint a supporter, but the lefties appoint their bleeding hearted mates ad nauseum and no-one blinks an eyelid.

                Commenter
                John
                Date and time
                June 19, 2014, 2:23PM

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