Carmody of Errors
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Justinian in Bar Association of Queensland, Judges, Supreme Court of Queensland, Tim Carmody

The politicisation of the Chief Justice ... Divisions deepen ... Lord Eldon's straddle ... Fresh round-up of The Carmody Capers ... From our Brisbane field agents 

Tim (Errors) Carmody: on the way in

THE moon-baying polemicists at The Australian have swung behind the appointment of Tim (Errors) Carmody as the CJ of Queensland. 

"The criticism must stop," ordered legal affairs scribbler Chris Merritt, backed-up by long-winded protector of our freedoms, Prof James Allan. 

With these two in Timbo's corner, you now know that critics of the government's choice for CJ are on rock solid ground. 

The funny thing is that Merritt was citing as his authority former Family Court CJ Alastair Nicholson, who has come out of the woodwork to say that Carmody was a "deep thinking, reliable and innovative" judge of his court. 

Nicholson was CJ for about a year while "Errors" was sitting as a Family Court judge. 

Alastair must have forgotten about the judge's slap-dash use of the scissors and glue pot to assemble his judgments. "Innovative" is correct. 

For more on Carmody's Perkins Paste school of judgment writing see The story of Timbo and the Paste Pot

It would also be a dizzying experience for Alastair to be quoted with approval in a News Corp publication, given the constant bagging Rupe's wing-nuts have dished out to him for the past 10 years, or more. Here's a typical example.  

Carmody steadfastly ignored any calls for calm while he conducted a large scale self-spruiking campaign on TV and radio - so much so that someone decided he should go on leave until July 8, when he's sworn in. 

It's understood Daphnis de Jersey will be showing him how to get his feet under the CJ's desk. 

Incredibly, others have failed to heed Merritt's ukase. Justice John Muir spoke at a North Queensland bar dinner last week, laying out some of the CJ-in-Waiting's impressive shortcomings and suggesting he disqualify himself for the job. 

In Friday's (June 20) Financial Review Tony Fitzgerald (again) and his old counsel assisting Gary Crooke laid into the appointee, saying he was "unsuited to the office" and he will lead to a decade or more of "controversy and ill-will".  

Incidentally, the press constantly refers to Carmody as a former "counsel assisting" the Fitzgerald Royal Commission. Can this be right? Our field agents say is was one of the commission's back room boys. 

Also on Friday, The Bowen Hills Bugle had a story saying that Justice (Alfred) Martin Daubney had strongly urged Errors to give-up ideas about becoming Chief Justice of Qld. 

He confirmed he had spoken to Carmody with the "unanimous authorisation" of all Supreme Court judges, but would not clarify what was said. 

Jim Thomas also dipped his toe into the waters, saying that the Leaker-General was a problem that should be "fixed".    

The Brisbane Times carried insider traffic on the selection process - with Carmody being very much Campbell Newsman's pick while Justice David Jackson was the overlooked choice of the court and the profession. 

Anonymous backbenchers expressed their distaste for what has happened, with one LNP type saying, "Carmody is a dreadful mistake".  

Daphnis de Jersey damned Carmody by not praising him at all in this missive urging the troops to rally around, in the interests of stability.  

One can't be too careful. After all, Carmody CJ will have to swear-in Daphnis as Governor on July 29. The farewell ceromony for the outgoing CJ will be held at the court this Friday (June 27). 

And don't forget, when Two Wigs is visiting the Queen and doing other important things offshore, Carmody will be the state's acting-gov. 

On Friday (June 20) Daphnis put aside the constitutional crisis that is wracking the state and got back to the real business at hand - an address to the Queensland Branch of the Seldon Society about knighthoods for chief justices. 

He outlined in loving detail how Sir Samuel Griffith and Sir Harry Gibbs have had their splendid banners for the Order of St Michael and St George rescued and restored and put on display in the judicial corridor of the 16th level of the Queen Elizabeth 11 Courts of Law, Brisbane. 

"We were invited formally by, I think, the Chancellor of the Order of St Michael and St George, though at the kind instance of the Gibbs family, to the annual service in St Paul's Cathedral in the presence of the Duke of Kent. It was at this service that the GCMG banner of the late Sir Harry, which previously hung in the Order's Chapel at the Cathedral, was to be 'laid up'. 

As it happened, Kaye and I were planning travel to Europe including principally Trier in Germany (for a European law conference), and could be in London on the very day of the Service. With some adjustment, we ensured we were. The Agent-General John Dawson accompanied us in Queensland House's Jaguar car with the Queensland flag flying: the long-serving driver Robin told us afterwards that intrigued Queensland tourists came up to him during the service asking what was going on inside of relevance to their home State." 

You wouldn't read about it. 

*   *   *

THE judges and the bar have been sitting on their hands.

They are confused as to the proprieties of criticising a judge. Some lawyers have the bizarre notion that it would be a contempt to say beastly things about Errors, now that he has a commission. 

The QBA has deferred making a decision about whether to attend, or who should attend, the CJ's swearing-in. 

President Shane Doyle has been overseas, but he may not be much help given he turned-up at the "launch of the chief justice" with solicitor general Peter Dunning and other government loyalist, including Marshall Cooke QC

The Judicial Conference of Australia issued one of its inscrutable statements - scripted so gingerly as to be meaningless. See here.  

Meanwhile, people in other parts of the wide, brown land are waking-up to what was going on in Queensland. Sydney solicitor Chris Murphy posted this comment on Twitter ... 

Haven't been following it, who's this parking cop they've made Chief Justice in Queensland? #auspol

— chris murphy (@chrismurphys) June 20, 2014

*   *   *

Lord Eldon: broadcast to the nation

NOW let us come to Lord Eldon, formerly known as Tony Morris. 

Eldon and the Conveyancer General have a good relationship. 

Indeed, Eldon was back-passaging with AG Bleijie in February on the Criminal Law Amendment (Public Interest Declarations) Amendment Act, after it was knocked over by the Court of Appeal in the Fardon case.  

Eldon's proposed legislation, designed to keep offenders under permanent detention, is called the Community Protection (Recidivist Sexual Predators) Act

You can read all about it here along with the cosy correspondence between Eldon and Bleijie. 

Lord Eldon advice on Public Interest Declarations - Qld



The announcement of Carmody's appointment was made on Thursday, June 12. That evening he emailed prez Peter Davis saying that he wanted to withdraw from the committee organising the bar's annual corroboree. 

"Given that the committee (at my suggestion) decided some time ago that the new Chief Justice should be a keynote speaker, I regret that I feel quite incapable of representing the Bar Association with the level of civility owed to the holder of that high office."   

Morris withdraws from bar committee 



Six days later Eldon turned up on ABC radio in Brisbane to endorse the government's choice.  

"I don't think anyone doubts that Tim Carmody is capable of doing the job." 

And as for the Leaker-General, what a mensch: 

"He (Mr Bleijie) doesn't strike me as sort of person who would either deliberately leak something or allow one of his staff to deliberately leak something.  I think there have been things that he's done which have attracted criticism, bills which have been overturned by the courts.  But that's part of being a reformist Attorney-General trying to do something. You don't make omelettes without breaking a few eggs." 



Gee willikers. Let's hope the AG remembers that when he's looking for someone to fill a juicy job. 

Weirdly, Eldon must have forgotten that five days earlier he sent this email to Peter Davis, totally supporting the just-resigned bar president's remarks about the Leaker-General and the corrupted process that saw the elevation of Errors Carmody. 

Eldon Davis Support

Life is great in the Sunshine State. 

Update on Monday, June 23, 2014 by Registered CommenterJustinian

The QBA spend the weekend (June 21-22) carefull drafing a statement confirming that Carmody did not and does not have the bar's support as CJ.

"The Bar Association also respectfully asks that he reconsider whether to take up the position of Chief Justice."

See full statement  

Article originally appeared on Justinian: Australian legal magazine. News on lawyers and the law (http://justinian.com.au/).
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