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
SCHOOL TIES: Retiring judge skewers
ADVICE: Being best not everything,
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)
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
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
“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
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’
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”
“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
“Really smart people can be quite adventurous in
how they decide cases and I’m not really a fan of that.”