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Call For Judicial Commission After Magistrate Brian Kilmartin's Misconduct

Video: Call For Judicial Commission after Magistrate Brian Kilmartin's Misconduct

Magistrate Brian Kilmartin's conduct has come under scrutiny by a Nine News investigation after a recording was made of him making inappropriate comments about a self represented defendant. This has lead to a call for a state Judicial Commission to investigate the state's legal system.

A number of Gold Coast Lawyers support this suggestion and question the integrity of Queensland's judicial system:

Transcription

Bruce Paige: A retired Supreme Court Judge has slammed the conduct of a Gold Coast Magistrate brought to light during a 9 News investigation. The government has the power to remove Magistrate Brian Kilmartin, but he remains in the job while the Attorney-General turns a blind eye. Tonight, more local lawyers express serious doubts over the state’s system and join the call for a judicial commission.

Alex Bernhardt: Last week we exposed a private conversation between Magistrate Brian Kilmartin and a prosecutor that had been recorded, where the Magistrate suggests a self-represented accused, absent at the time, could “stay in the cage a bit longer”, that they could make “a bobby dazzler” of a domestic violence order and “see what he thinks about that.” Barrister David Funch learnt of the conversation. He wasn’t representing the man, but was so disturbed, took it upon himself free of charge, to request the Magistrate remove himself from the trial, which he did.

David Funch: You’ve got the right to a fair trial and you deserve to be treated with a bit of dignity and a bit of respect.

Alex Bernhardt: Retired Supreme Court Justice James Thomas has now come out in support of Mr Funch, stating “Channel 9’s program shows a disturbing case of actual bias” with the hostile comments about ‘staying in the cage’ particularly worrying. Our story prompted calls from a number of Southport Lawyers for a judicial commission. Today more joined the chorus.

Nick Cobin: The people have a right to be concerned and I think the people have a right to have someone look at it appropriately and deal with it appropriately.

Alex Bernhardt: But Justice Thomas doesn’t believe Queensland needs a judicial commission. He says “judicial officers can’t function properly and independently if they have outsiders breathing down their necks.” He adds, the government can apply to a supreme court judge to decide if that Magistrate’s removal is warranted. The conduct “may be brought to the attention of the Attorney-General, and very serious consequences may ensue.”

Well we brought this to the attention of our Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, but he palmed off our request for an interview, while Chief Magistrate Tim Carmody replied it was inappropriate for him to comment.

Michael McMillan: "They are costing everyone money, time and energy in their failure to do their job properly, surely it's got to be someone's responsibility."