Top barrister resigns over Chief Justice appointment

ONE of Queensland's most revered barristers has resigned following the controversy surrounding the Chief Justice appointment this week.

Bar Association of Queensland president Peter Davis said his resignation was related to Tim Carmody's appointment but it was not a personal criticism of the Chief Magistrate.

He said he no longer had faith in the selection process integrity and accused the Queensland Government of leaking confidential conversations he had with them over the appointment

Mr Davis said Mr Carmody was aware of those conversations with the Attorney-General when he phoned him following former Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff's scathing attack in the media. 

"The government has said that they consulted widely on the appointment," his letter, dated Friday, stated.

"My sense though is that there was little, if any, support for the appointment within the legal profession and little, or none, within the ranks of sitting supreme court judges.

"Senior figures warned against the appointment and some have spoken out against it since its announcement.

"Judge Carmody gave an acceptance speech, and answered some questions where, remarkably, his Honour thought it necessary to tell the audience gathered that he was independent - something no new judge has ever felt it necessary to do.

"Throughout the process, I have attempted to ensure the maintenance of the dignity of the courts and protect, not only the office of Chief Justice, but also the office of the Chief Magistrate, and of the courts generally.

"The bar association ought to be involved in the process of appointment of judges.

"That is done through the president. As I have no faith in the integrity of the process, I cannot engage further in it.

"I have concluded, with great regret and sadness, that I ought not continue to hold the office of president."
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said would not engage in rumour and innuendo.

"The government consulted extensively and carefully considered all submissions from the legal profession regarding the appointment of the Chief Justice," he said.

"I thank Mr Davis for his leadership and counsel and I will continue to consult with the bar association and its new president, whoever is appointed."

Queensland Law Society president Ian Brown sent a letter to members saying he was "deeply concerned" about matters Mr Davis raised in his resignation letter.

"What is of the utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity of the judiciary and our system of justice," he said.

"We agree with Mr Davis that it is the integrity of the institutions that is important, not individual personalities."


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