Chief justice Tim Carmody tells of impact of row on family
NEW Chief Justice Tim Carmody choked up as he told a packed courtroom how distressing the controversy surrounding his appointment had been for his family.
He told the 200-odd people in the court room, and his regional colleagues watching via video-link, that he would be a "fierce and formidable warrior" if independence was threatened in any way.
His comments came as the Queensland Bar Association, which had played a role in the controversy, pledged to support him in his new role.
Justice Carmody has been widely criticised before and after taking the role for a perceived towards the LNP Government and its bikie laws.
Members of the legal fraternity - including sitting and retired judges - have also questioned his ability to do the top job.
Traditionally, all judicial members of the Queensland Supreme Court would surround Justice Carmody, in full ceremonial garb, during his welcoming ceremony.
They did not.
Justice Carmody, and new justice Peter Flanagan, sat alone to address the courtroom.
The Chief Justice said it was time to break from that tradition but it has been rumoured many justices declined to attend.
"Whatever genuine concerns may have been held or expressed in the past about me, I will without apology or fear be a fierce and formidable warrior against any threat to that independence whether it comes from within or without," Justice Carmody said.
"I will do my best to restore and maintain right relations with both arms of government in the spirit of mutual respect, cooperation and understanding but without surrendering or compromising the court's independence or traditional values, such as the rule of law."
Justice Carmody thanked all who had "supported and encouraged" him through his career and personal life.
"Especially my wife and family today and every day," he said.
"I am sorry that my appointment has caused you distress but I want you to know how proud I am of your courage and your dignity.
"Thank you for your unconditional support," he said as he neared tears.
"Through your example in this episode, even this late in the game, I have learned a valuable life lesson.
"To be truly free, you have to forget what other people think or say about you."
Queensland Bar Association president Shane Doyle said a person appointed to that high office should be accorded the respect and support of the community.
"It has not been uncontroversial, including from the bar association's point of view," he said.
"But that controversy is, or at least should now, be in the past.
"Public confidence in the courts of this state requires that occur.
"You will have the support and respect of the bar association and its members, a very significant number are present today.
"You have previously recorded a wish to be judged by the people of this state on your performance in the discharge of that office.
"You have set yourself a challenge to carry out the performance of this high office to the best of your abilities so as to leave a legacy in which you will be proud.
"In that respect as well and in the achievement of that objective, you have the support of the association."
Justice Carmody said he would act without fear or favour and was committed to leading a "collegiate, constructive and cordial court".
"I also affirm that I will, regardless of the water under the bridge, strive to build and strengthen a respectful working relationship with the legal fraternity," he said.
Justice Carmody, following the lead of his predecessor Paul de Jersey, said he would be Chief Justice for all of Queensland.
He said he would seek equal, individual justice for indigenous Queenslanders and would travel widely on circuit throughout "this vast state".
"I will endeavour to meaningful engage with the local community and the profession in both major and smaller regional centres," he said.