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Chief Justice Tim Carmody faces open revolt by Supreme Court judges


Fitzgerald slams Newman Government

Fitzgerald slams Newman Government
JUDGES of the Supreme Court are at war with their boss and have vowed to criticise Chief Justice Tim Carmody until he quits.

Court of Appeal Justice John Muir has been backed by senior Supreme Court judges including David Boddice, Philip McMurdo and Martin Daubney in an extraordinary revolt against Justice Carmody.

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The Courier-Mail has learned the push against Justice Carmody will continue relentlessly with his opponents determined he must quit.

“It should be apparent to everyone, in particular the new Chief Justice and the Attorney-General, that no one (on the Supreme Court bench) will ever accept Carmody has the credentials or skills required (to do the job),” a senior judicial officer said.

“The only way this situation can be remedied is if (Justice Carmody) resigns and a more experienced (judge is) appointed.”

Justice Carmody is 58 and has 12 years left in the job before he is required to retire.

The rebellion has seen some Supreme Court judges even refuse to acknowledge Justice Carmody when they see him. It is understood the Supreme Court judges have been quietly nudging retiring or retired judges to take public shots at Justice Carmody.

Tim Carmody’s appointment as chief justice has provoked howls of outrage from the legal f

Tim Carmody’s appointment as chief justice has provoked howls of outrage from the legal fraternity.

It was revealed on Tuesday that retiring judge Justice Muir had declared in an email to his former Nudgee classmates that he took issue with Justice Carmody’s “manifest unsuitability”.

“Every judge of both trial and appellate divisions of the Supreme Court has no confidence in the appointee and that was conveyed to him before he was sworn in.”

His comments were followed by an attack from retired senior judge Richard Chesterman, who declared it was terrifying that there was no option for Justice Carmody to be removed from his position, despite concerns from the judiciary, because of the retirement age rules.

Justice Carmody last month stared down his critics, describing their accusations as unfounded. “I can do this job, I will do this job,” he said at the time.

The attacks – driven partly by a belief that the Chief Justice lacks the necessary civil law qualifications – were revived this week to coincide with a public welcoming ceremony in the Banco Court tomorrow.

There is a question mark over how many of his Supreme Court colleagues will attend.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court bench is attempting to push a fresh plan towards the ears of the Government that would see Justice Carmody replace Patsy Wolfe as head of the District Court upon her impending retirement.

They believe his strengths lie in criminal law – which would suit the predominantly criminal-law based District Court.

Supreme Court Justice David Boddice is one of Chief Justice Carmody’s vocal critics.

Supreme Court Justice David Boddice is one of Chief Justice Carmody’s vocal critics.

A senior Government source said of the criticism of Justice Carmody: “They’re acting like petulant children.”

Retired Justice Chesterman said the Newman Government’s attempts to broker a peace deal with judges was motivated by its need to win back votes before the next election.

“It does not appear to reveal any proper understanding of the separation of the judiciary from executive government, and the essential and necessary independence of the courts from that branch of government,” he said.

“If the Premier’s meeting with the heads of jurisdictions was not just about creating an impression of amity for electoral purposes then it shows a misunderstanding of the functions and responsibilities of the courts.

“The recent by-election seems to suggest that the public fears for its basic liberties under this Government.”

Justice Muir earlier compared Justice Carmody to “a suburban GP being selected to lead a team of cardiac surgeons performing open heart surgery”.


Carmody’s critics ‘hypocrites’


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ONE of Queensland’s top legal academics has taken aim at the legal fraternity for criticising the appointment of new Chief Justice Tim Carmody, saying the attacks smack of “hypocrisy”.

University of Queensland’s Professor James Allan said many of those who had adopted a “hard-nosed” attitude had stayed silent about a number of previous appointments, pointing out that there were a number of Labor government picks among the ranks.

“I think it’s worth remembering that in the background. We have a new Government and they’re entitled to make the calls they want,” he said.

Prof Allan said those who remained silent in public while slamming previous appointees in private should do the same now, given there had been others “with the same qualifications and no one’s made a big deal out of it”.

“My view is that there are other judges with just the same sort of credentials as he had, so if you didn’t complain about them, you shouldn’t complain about him.

“I think there are other ones who’ve been just as sort of ... and they’ve grown on the job.”

Prof Allan said there was a “tiny bit of politics” at play.

“And there’s probably a bit of almost a class thing, where you suppose that only the smartest barristers in the room ought to be judges. I don’t agree with that either,” he said.

University of Queensland law professor James Allan says there are politics at play.

University of Queensland law professor James Allan says there are politics at play.

“Really smart people can be quite adventurous in how they decide cases and I’m not really a fan of that.”