Lawyers furious over Newman slight
- 1 hour ago February 07, 2014
Campbell Newman's comments have sparked an angry response, with some lawyers demanding a retraction and others calling for a public apology.
Mr Newman this week said lawyers who defend bikies belong to a "criminal gang machine".
"These people are hired guns. They take money from people who sell drugs to our teenagers and young people," he said.
"Yes everybody has a right to be defended under the law, but you've got to see it for what it is.
"They are part of the machine, part of the criminal gang machine, and they will see, say and do anything to defend their clients and try and get them off, or indeed progress their ... dishonest case."
Queensland Bar Association president Peter Davis QC says the premier has suggested that lawyers - simply be defending someone accused of a crime - are somehow complicit in criminality themselves.
"The idea that a lawyer, by representing someone who is accused of a criminal offence, is somehow or other joining the criminality is just misconceived," he told the ABC on Friday.
"That's just simply wrong and that remark should, in our view, be corrected."
He said lawyers had a paramount duty to the court and the administration of justice, and that duty overrode any obligations they had to their clients.
"Lawyers can't mislead the court, can't run arguments that have no basis at all. There's ethical obligations and there's duties to the court."
The premier's office declined to respond when contacted by AAP on Friday, and said questions should be directed to the Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.
AAP has sought comment from Mr Bleijie.
His office earlier told the ABC that the attorney-general supported the premier's comments in the context in which they were made.
Mr Newman made the comment after lawyers for alleged bikies said they were advising some of their clients not to attend court if other bikies were there.
Hannay Lawyers issued the advice this week, fearing their clients could be charged under new anti-association laws, which make it illegal for three or more bikies to gather in public.
Mr Newman attacked that advice, and accused those defence lawyers of being disingenuous.
Peter Shields, a former police office turned lawyer who represents some alleged bikies, said the premier must apologise.
"It's caused distress to every solicitor that practices in the area of criminal law," he told the ABC.
"The comments of the premier are not just unfounded, they are not just a mistake, they are deeply hurtful and he should apologise