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Mud-slinging in Queensland over Chief Justice appointment

By Shannon Sweeney

11 June 2014 at 06:39 BST

The gloves are off in Queensland over the appointment of a new Chief Justice as the legal establishment rallies against the front-runner.

Lawyers voice criticisms of Tim Carmody for Queensland Chief Justice. Jiri Flogel

A spate has broken out in Queensland over a top candidate for  the position of Chief Justice. As Tom Carmody's supporters praised him for rising through the legal ranks despite being an outsider from Brisbane,  the Queensland legal establishment railed against him. Former Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff openly criticised Mr Carmody who is the frontrunner for the job. In a letter, Mr Sofronoff claimed that Mr Carmody, the current Chief Magistrate, was 'inexperienced', did not have the peer support for the job and should rule himself out as an option for Queensland Chief Justice because he was ' too close' to the Newman Government. Meanwhile,  Marshall Cooke QC, a senior silk, condemned Mr Sofronoff's comments, saying that the appointment of a Chief Justice amost always saw controversy which was generated by supporters of unsuccessful aspirants to the position and the treatment of Mr Carmody should be deplored.

Entitled to respect

Queensland Bar Association President Peter Davis, QC  said he agreed with the points of principle in the letter by Sofronoff, adding the appointment of Chief Justice must be completely impartial. However, he cautioned that 'Judge Carmody is a sitting judge, and is the Chief Magistrate. He is entitled to the community's respect as such. However, because of his position, it is impossible for Judge Carmody to respond to public comment made of him. There is a danger that the ongoing debate will unfairly damage the standing and reputation of His Honour and of the Courts more generally.'


However, Carmody, a former policeman, has a number of supporters who point out that he played a key role in the Fitzgerald inquiry, managing key informants and covert operatives in organised prostitution from 1987 to 1989. Mr Carmody served as the Queensland Crime Commissioner from 1998 to 2002, where he investigated drug trade and organised crime. Source: Herald Sun


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