Queensland’s former bar association president claims the court remains unsettled after the controversial appointment of new chief justice Tim Carmody.
Queensland’s former bar association president has renewed allegations that the body was threatened by someone linked to the state government to support the appointment of Tim Carmody as chief justice.
Speaking at a forum organised by left-leaning think tank the TJ Ryan Foundation at Queensland parliament on Tuesday night, Peter Davis QC discussed the war of words between the state government and senior judicial figures over the decision.
Tim Carmody’s appointment as chief justice was met with criticism from many in legal circles who were concerned he may be perceived as being too close to the Liberal National Party (LNP) government.
Mr Davis told the forum prior to Mr Carmody’s promotion, there had been a series of actions and statements made by him as chief magistrate which “at least, on their face, had suggested an uncomfortable connection with the government.”
Mr Davis resigned from his position after accusing attorney general Jarrod Bleijie of leaking confidential communications about the decision.
He also told those gathered that the public “launch” of Mr Carmody as chief justice, attended by the premier and attorney general, was “a huge mistake” and the process of consultation “badly flawed.”
Mr Davis alleged that prior to his resignation, a person with close ties to the LNP threatened the bar association with retribution unless the appointment was supported.
“Those threats were removal of the bar association’s statutory regulatory function,” he said.
“And also threats of likelihood that future judicial appointments would come from the ranks of solicitors, not from the ranks of barristers.”
Mr Davis told the forum that judicial appointments must be seen to be made at arms’ length and not “bedevilled by controversy.”
He claimed the court is unsettled and the controversy remained.
“But of course, the character of our judges is such that they will simply do what they always do, and that’s turn up to court every day and fulfil their oaths of office.”
Mr Bleijie’s office declined to comment.