I’LL BE THE JUDGE OF THAT
... was courageous and selfless Ex-chief justice thought he
PRAISE for former chief justice Tim Carmody’s “formidable legal skills” and “courage” was cut from a joint statement issued by AttorneyGeneral Yvette D’Ath announcing his resignation.
In a parting insult to a tumultuous ride in the state’s top legal job, words extolling Justice Carmody’s legal skills and selflessness in resigning were edited out of a July 1 statement announcing he was stepping down.
Documents obtained by The Courier-Mail under Right to Information reveal the praise had appeared in a draft joint media statement emailed to Ms D’Ath’s office.
The draft statement was emailed from an assistant to the then-chief justice to Ms D’Ath’s chief-of-staff Jimmy Sullivan hours before Justice Carmody announced he was quitting the role.
“Happily His Honour’s formidable legal skills and administrative experience will not go to waste. He will continue to serve the community in a leadership role at QCAT (the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal),” the draft release stated.
The sentence was missing from the joint statement issued by the chief justice and Attorney-General later that day, while praise for his decision to stand aside was toned down.
The final statement did acknowledge Justice Carmody’s sacrifice and “strength of character” in ending bitter infighting in the judiciary by resigning from the post.
It also confirmed Justice Carmody would be given “favourable consideration” for the QCAT presidency.
But it shied away from describing his decision as a “magnanimous”, “selfless” and showing “great courage” as suggested in the draft statement.
Justice Carmody’s resignation ended ongoing criticism over his suitability for the job that started even before his appointment by the former Newman Government. The feuding grew, with revelations of a deep rift between Justice Carmody and Justice Margaret McMurdo.
Leaked emails revealed Justice McMurdo had refused to sit on cases with Justice Carmody, while in May Justice Carmody accused Justice McMurdo of bias toward him.
A spokeswoman for Ms D’Ath said the Attorney-General would not be commenting on the specifics of negotiations on the wording of the draft documents, but said “the release was a joint statement, agreed to by both and speaks for itself”. Justice Carmody did not respond to a request for comment.