Queensland’s outgoing chief justice and soon-to-be governor Paul de Jersey says judges must accept Tim Carmody as his successor.
Queensland’s outgoing chief justice and soon-to-be governor Paul de Jersey has urged outspoken judges to support his successor Tim Carmody for the sake of stability.
Justice de Jersey has remained silent over the last week despite senior members of the judiciary attacking Mr Carmody’s appointment, saying he lacks experience and is too close to the government to run the courts independently.
Justice de Jersey, who will become governor in July, said on Friday he’d previously kept quiet because the appointment was a matter for the government, and it would have been inappropriate for him to comment on his successor.
But now that Mr Carmody’s appointment had been approved by the Governor-in-Council, comprising current governor Penelope Wensley and select ministers, Justice de Jersey said he felt compelled to appeal for unity.
“With that position established, it became incumbent on all of us who are involved in the legal process to support its current expression,” he said in a statement.
“The stability of the legal system is integral to our democratic system and must be maintained.”
Mr Carmody was recruited as chief magistrate from the bar nine months ago and will serve as the state’s 18th chief justice of the Supreme Court, despite never sitting in it.
Earlier on Friday, retired Family Court chief justice Alastair Nicholson denounced Mr Carmody’s critics and said he’d formed a favourable impression of Mr Carmody when they served together on the bench.
Mr Nicholson urged judges to keep their opinions to themselves and refrain from pre-judging Mr Carmody.
“I think it’s damaging and unnecessary,” he told the ABC.
Mr Carmody, who has taken annual leave until he’s sworn in next month, is stunned by the fallout over some of the choices he made during his short stint as chief magistrate.
One of those decisions was a directive to 100 magistrates on how to apply Queensland’s controversial anti-bikie laws at a time the judiciary and government were at loggerheads.
Mr Carmody was counsel assisting the Fitzgerald inquiry into police corruption in the 1980s.
On Friday, Mr Fitzgerald, who led the historic inquiry, called on Mr Carmody to withdraw, saying his appointment could not be explained by his achievements or professional standing.
“Carmody’s extraordinary nomination again confirms the government’s disdain for long-established, fundamental principles of good governance,” Mr Fitzgerald told Fairfax media.
“The appointment of a chief justice who is unsuited to that office, in highly controversial circumstances, would lead to a decade or more of controversy and ill-will which would seriously damage the administration of justice in Queensland.”