Bit­ter end for Car­mody

Chief Jus­tice quits, end­ing year- long saga that hurt ju­di­ciary

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SARAH VOGLER MATTHEW KILLORAN MICHAEL MADI­GAN

TIM Car­mody de­cided to quit as Chief Jus­tice dur­ing an af­ter- hours phone call from At­tor­ney- Gen­eral Yvette D’Ath, end­ing a 12- month saga that has dam­aged the rep­u­ta­tion of the state’s high­est court.

Af­ter weeks of ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Jus­tice Car­mody and Ms D’Ath, which in­ten­si­fied in the past few days, it was dur­ing that phone call – about 6.30pm on Tues­day – that the pair reached a fi­nal agree­ment which will see him step down as the state’s top judge.

Sup­port­ers said they be­lieved the pair would be dis­cussing a state­ment – po­ten­tially drafted by Jus­tice Car­mody and his wife Robyn – telling the le­gal com­mu­nity he would be de­fi­antly stay­ing on as Chief Jus­tice.

In­stead Jus­tice Car­mody and Ms D’Ath agreed on a dif­fer­ent path, which was then for­malised yesterday.

Jus­tice Car­mody’s res­ig­na­tion is ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately.

It comes two months af­ter he pri­vately raised re­sign­ing to end the im­passe be­tween him­self and his fel­low judges, dur­ing a meet­ing with Ms D’Ath in April, and a month af­ter he went public with that of­fer.

He told the le­gal pro­fes­sion he re­signed “af­ter long and anx­ious thought and broad con­sul­ta­tion with fam­ily, friends and ad­vis­ers”.

“It is to re­store the dig­nity of the ju­di­ciary and the public con­fi­dence in its abil­ity to ad­min­is­ter jus­tice,” he said in a state­ment yesterday.

“An ef­fec­tive Chief Jus­tice has to have the loy­alty and sup­port of the bench.”

Jus­tice Car­mody will re­main on the Supreme Court bench and will likely step into the role of Pres­i­dent of the Queens­land Civil and Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal when it be­comes avail­able be­tween now and Oc­to­ber next year.

In the mean­time, he will be a sup­ple­men­tary QCAT mem­ber, tak­ing a pay cut of about $ 55,000 a year.

Act­ing Gover­nor Jus­tice Hugh Fraser will also fill in as act­ing Chief Jus­tice, with the ma­jor­ity of his fel­low jus­tices, in­clud­ing the state’s sec­ond most se­nior judge, Court of Ap­peal Pres­i­dent Mar­garet McMurdo, on win­ter break.

Ms D’Ath said she would im­me­di­ately be­gin work to ap­point the next Chief Jus­tice.

“I be­lieve this is in the best in­ter­ests of the court,” she said of Jus­tice Car­mody’s de­ci­sion.

“I ac­knowl­edge the sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion the Chief Jus­tice makes. This is draw­ing a line in the sand and al­low­ing all par­ties to move for­ward.

“It’s in­cum­bent on me to con­sider the ap­point­ment of a new Chief Jus­tice.

“I will not be rush­ing that de­ci­sion.”

Tim Car­mody.

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