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    "That seems to be the only thing that drives them. Getting hold of power, to wield it." 

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    « Dr Matt Collins QC | Main | Concerning Champagne »
    Tuesday
    Mar202018

    Michael Finnane QC

    Michael Finnane joins us on the couch to talk about himself and his book The Pursuit of Justice ... In fact, he's concerned whether the courts actually deliver justice ... The sweep of history and experience from Menzies to Turnbull 

    Finnane: formed in the furnace of the law, the church, the army and the ALP

     

    FORMER NSW District Court judge Michael Finnane QC has just published The Pursuit of Justice, a mighty work that traverses a multitude of topics - his priestly flirtation, prisons in NSW, the Skaf gang rape trials, what it's like to be a judge, social justice, the army, the ALP, Indigenous Australians, and climate change. 

    In 1978 Finnane also was appointed to inspect the corporate activities of Ian Sinclair, at the time a minister in the Fraser government. 

    It was alleged that the minister and his father had siphoned money from companies in the funeral business. Ian Sinclair was charged with fraud and later, with the help of Murray Gleeson, acquitted. 

    To celebrate the publication of The Pursuit of Justice we invited Michael Finnane onto Justinian's couch ... 

    Describe yourself in three words

    Determined, strong-minded, compassionate.

    What are you currently reading?  

    Holdsworth's "History of English Law" Volume 1 and "Rather His Own Man" by Geoffrey Robertson. 

    What's your favourite film?  

    "The Winslow Boy" (black and white version). 

     Who has been the most influential person in your life, and why? 

    My mother. She taught me mental toughness. 

    When were you happiest?  

    When I was growing up at Rose Bay.

    What is your favourite piece of music?   

    The chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Nabucco. 

    Why did you think it was important to write The Pursuit of Justice?  

    I wanted to tell a story about a life in the law that explained why I was a lawyer and how the court system worked.

     What has been your most memorable case? 

     The Skaf [rape] trials.

    Do you think the High Court might have restored your sentences in the Skaf case?  

    They did not do so. I could not see that any special leave point was involved. 

    What is in your refrigerator?  

    Food but no alcohol.

    What is your favourite website? 

    Austlii

    What lessons did you draw from your inquiry into Ian Sinclair MP?  

     • To investigate something touching a powerful political figure, will bring you into conflict with the political establishment;

    • The media will pursue you, at times unfairly;

    • You will be subject to intemperate and unjust criticism if you ever investigate the activities of anyone who was powerful. 

    What words or phrases do you overuse?  

    I can't think of any.

    What is your greatest weakness?  

    I am no good at games involving eye/hand co-ordination. 

    Why did you want to be a lawyer?  

    Because I wanted to be a barrister. 

    What other occupation would you like to have liked to pursue?  

    Playwright or novelist. 

    If you were on death row, what would you request for your last meal?  

    Prawn Laksa with noodles followed by Tiramusu with cream.

    If you were a foodstuff, what would you be?  

    Mango.

     What human quality do you most distrust?  

    Emotional over reaction leading to kneejerk actions. 

    What would you change about Australia?  

    I would abolish State governments, have one Australian parliament and no States.

    Who or what do you consider overrated? 

    The notion that the court system delivers justice to all who seek it. 

    What would your epitath say? 

    He was an eccentric, who tried his best.

    What comes to mind when you shut your eyes and think of the word "law"? 

    I think of all the barristers, solicitors and judges I have met over nearly 60 years and some of the cases in which I have been involved. 

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