A Court of Appeal judge has again taken aim at the appointment of Tim Carmody as Queensland’s chief justice.
The appointment of Tim Carmody as Queensland’s new chief justice is like getting a suburban GP to lead cardiac surgeons through open heart surgery, a Court of Appeal judge says.
Justice John Muir has sent an email to his former Nudgee College classmates criticising the decision to invite fellow old boy Justice Carmody to speak at an August event.
“Various analogies have been used by commentators attempting to explain the deficiencies in the Carmody appointment,” Justice Muir wrote in the email, which has been quoted by media outlets.
“I seem to recall one likening the appointment to a suburban GP being selected to lead a team of cardiac surgeons performing open heart surgery at Prince Charles Hospital.”
After the email surfaced, Justice Muir sent a clarification to former classmates, saying his issue was “not with Carmody, the man”, but his unsuitability for the role.
In the immediate aftermath of the appointment, Justice Muir had called on Justice Carmody to withdraw, citing an “obvious lack of support”.
Other senior legal figures have criticised the appointment, including corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald, former Crown Solicitor Walter Sofronoff QC and former Supreme Court judge Richard Chesterman QC.
The Newman government moved last week to repair relations with the legal fraternity.
Premier Campbell Newman and Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie met the heads of the Supreme, District and Magistrates Courts, as well as the chiefs of the Bar Association of Queensland and the Queensland Law Society.
Tensions have simmered since October 2013, when the premier said some of the legal fraternity needed to “come out of your ivory towers” after criticism of now-invalid sex offender laws.
Mr Newman had previously described critics of his sex offender laws as “apologists” for pedophiles and likened bikie lawyers to a “criminal gang machine”.
Justice Carmody has vowed to be an independent leader.
“If my views happen to coincide with the government’s views, that’s pure coincidence,” he said last month. “There will be many times when I disagree with the government’s position.”
Justice Carmody was sworn in at a private ceremony and a public welcome ceremony will be held on Friday.
Retired Supreme Court judge Richard Chesterman said he had fears about a lack of effective leadership under Justice Carmody.
He said that deficiency could extend for decades, and there was nothing judges could do about it.
“Terrifyingly, there are no options,” he told the ABC on Wednesday.
“It’s not a contract that comes to an end. He’s appointed until the statute requires him to retire at 70.”
He said Justice Carmody had himself admitted he did not have the necessary legal knowledge for the very demanding legal role.
“He doesn’t have the confidence of the profession, or the support of his judges,” he said.
“We have a chief justice who really appears to have been appointed because of his support for government rather than independent judicial qualities.”