Judge fears change in bikie bail order would damage court
UPDATED: A SUPREME Court justice has refused to review a bail decision involving an alleged bikie amid fears the integrity of Queensland's justice system could be severely damaged.
Justice George Fryberg said Premier Campbell Newman's comments in media reports, where he raised concerns over a decision to grant bail to a bikie, troubled him - that they should be explained or withdrawn.
He was asked to hear an application to review that decision to grant bail to alleged Bandido Jared Kevin Anthony Brown over his alleged involvement in a bikie brawl on the Gold Coast.
That brawl sparked a government crackdown on bikies and new legislation rushed through parliament to demand tougher jail terms for bikies, including adjusting the bail rules.
Justice Fryberg said he was satisfied a reasonable member of the community would infer from the premier's statements that he wished the courts to refused to grant Mr Brown bail.
He said a possible outcome of hearing the application must be revoking bail.
"There is to my mind a very real risk that members of the public would perceive a result in favour of the Crown as having been influenced by the premier's statements," he said.
"Thereby the power of the executive arm of government would be enhanced and the independence of the judicial arm damaged.
"That damage would affect the institutional integrity of this court."
Justice Fryberg said it was inevitable in any system of government where power was divided among different institutions, that grey areas would occur at the boundaries.
He said there were sound reasons for Cabinet ministers, especially the Premier and Attorney-General, to restrain from publicly commenting on court cases.
Justice Fryberg said if they wanted politicians wanted influence court decisions they should do so through "the passage of legislation, not by comments to the mass media".
"Such comments create the risk that public perceptions of the independence of the judiciary will be damaged."
Meanwhile, the man behind Queensland's historic corruption inquiry, Tony Fitzgerald, has slammed the Newman Government as "astonishingly short-sighted" for attacking the judiciary "in a bid to foster redneck support'".
In a statement he released on Thursday, he urged the premier not to treat the community as fools.
"It is the judiciary's role to apply the law to facts established by the available evidence, and it would contravene a judge's oath of office to speculate as to what the 'public wants' and to decide accordingly," he said.