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Statement on Justice Wilson

Hon Christopher Finlayson
Attorney-General

2 December 2009 Media Statement
Statement on Justice Wilson

Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson said he had confirmed today that the Judicial Conduct Commissioner has received a complaint relating to Justice Wilson’s failure to recuse himself from a Court of Appeal case despite the nature and extent of his financial relationship with counsel in the case.

On Friday the Supreme Court recalled its previous judgment on whether Justice Wilson should have recused himself from sitting in the earlier Court of Appeal case, and ordered a retrial.

“The Supreme Court found that if it had seen financial information about the business partnership between Justice Wilson and Alan Galbraith QC which was later disclosed in the recall application, it would not have held that there was no apprehension of bias to a reasonable lay observer.”

“The matter is now with the Judicial Conduct Commissioner,” Mr Finlayson said. “The law requires that the Commissioner makes a preliminary examination, during which he may make any enquiries and look at any relevant court documents.”

“At the end of the preliminary examination, the Commissioner must either dismiss the complaint, or refer the complaint to the Chief Justice, or recommend that the Attorney-General appoint a Judicial Conduct Panel to inquire into any matter concerning the conduct of the Judge.”

“I will not be making any further comment while the preliminary examination is happening because the Attorney-General stands apart from the current process that the Commissioner is proceeding with.”

ENDS

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