The newly appointed High Court of Australia judge Michelle Gordon was in 2012 accused of being part of “an appalling judgment” in a case that left thousands of sick and dying people without compensation. In the US people in the same situation were awarded a total of $4.85 billion. It is estimated that the compensation in Australia should have been in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but they received nothing thanks to Justice Gordon and 2 other Federal Court judges.
The severe criticism came from Andrew Grech who is the CEO of major law firm Slater and Gordon. Criticism of judges by lawyers is rare, so for a law firm CEO to make that sort of criticism is extremely significant. It warranted investigation at the time but even more so now given that Michelle Gordon is about to become a High Court of Australia judge.
In the in US it is standard practice for judges appointed to their highest Court, the Supreme Court of the United States, to be grilled by a committee of politicians to judge their suitability before their appointment. (Click here to read more) That is also what should happen in Australia.
Justice Gordon (51) who is currently a Federal Court of Australia judge was appointed to the High Court on Tuesday (14/4/15) (she starts on the 9th June) and will replace her husband Justice Kenneth Hayne (turns 70 on the 5th June).
The 2012 attack by Andrew Grech was in relation to the Full Court judgment in the Vioxx class action and his criticism was mostly focused on the then Chief Justice Patrick Keane who is now also a High Court judge. But given it was a Full Court appeal (3 judges) the criticism related to all 3 judges which also included Justice Annabelle Bennett.
I wrote about the Vioxx matter in 2012:
Andrew Grech went on to say “Vioxx is a very good example of a reactionary Chief Justice [Patrick Keane] not applying the law in a consistent way” and “Our problem is that since about , the insurance lobby and others have been very effective in convincing governments – and judges, I might say – that they had to make it harder for people to redress … their grievances. So that has filtered its way through in what I think are some very poor judicial decisions, which have been reactionary in nature.” (Click here to read more)
“For Andrew Grech to come out and criticise the judiciary like he has is a big call. But the situation is getting beyond repair and it will not be the last time someone in his position does.” (Click here to read the full post)
Keane is already a High Court judge and now Gordon will become one in a couple of months which will give Australia 2 fools from the same dodgy judgment sitting on the bench in the High Court.
It is without a doubt that Justice Kenneth Hayne has been lobbying the government and other High Court judges on behalf of his wife to appoint her to the High Court. So the big question the voters should be asking is: Has the Australian public received the best person for the job or the person whose spouse was best positioned to lobby the government on their behalf?
ICAC V Margaret Cunneen judgment: High Court – Wednesday 15-4-15
The High Court of Australia handed down judgment in the ICAC v Margaret Cunneen matter on Wednesday and it is a prime example why the government and legal fraternity need a compliant High Court. If Margaret Cunneen was found to be corrupt then the dam wall might crack and other government employees would also have to worry. So it was important that the High Court does its part in making sure that does not happen.
The High Court decided (4 judges to 1) that the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) could not investigate whether or not NSW Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen had acted corruptly. The bottom line is the High Court said that trying to mislead police is not corrupt so Cunneen cannot be investigated by ICAC. To me it is the cart before the horse. It is only after ICAC have fully investigated can they determine whether corrupt conduct has occurred. (Click here to read more)
Margaret Cunneen’s credibility is down the drain
Ms Cunneen has fought long and hard to make sure that ICAC did not hold a public inquiry into whether or not she had acted corruptly and the High Court decision makes sure ICAC will never hold an inquiry. But this has left a dark cloud over Ms Cunneen’s reputation that will never go away. Cunneen would have known this would happen so whatever she was trying to avoid by having the ICAC inquiry must have been worth it.
Margaret Cunneen says it was a frivolous and vexatious complaint by her sister Carol Cunneen that caused the ICAC inquiry. If that was true then why did she not just allow the inquiry to go ahead and clear her name? Her sister Carol Cunneen denies the allegations. (Click here to read more)
I wrote a previous post on this matter last December so I won’t repeat everything. But as I wrote then Margaret Cunneen has plenty of skeletons in her closet that cast a huge shadow over her credibility besides this case. (Click here to read the article)
While we all have a legal right to silence, Margaret Cunneen is a Crown Prosecutor and the public have the right to have only Crown Prosecutors that we have full confidence in. How can we have full confidence in Margaret Cunneen when there are so many unanswered questions? She should resign ASAP because the High Court did not find Cunneen not guilty, they just helped her dodge a likely bullet to her career called an ICAC Inquiry.
What happens from here with the High Court is disappointing. But even they are more accountable than ever in some regards with more people watching and commentating. As far as ICAC is concerned the NSW government could easily and quickly change the laws granting ICAC the power sthey should already have. Then the High Court could not stick their nose in again. The NSW government could also make the laws retrospective (backdate it) which would mean we could get to the bottom of Margaret Cunneen matter.
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