Bitter end for Carmody
Chief Justice quits, ending year- long saga that hurt judiciary
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.”