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Cahill investigation gets serious

By johnboy 17 November 2009 34

The Canberra Times brings word that police have gone so far as to seize the notes and recorder of the CT’s Noel Towell as they investigate whether Chief Magistrate Ron Cahill “attempted to pervert the course of justice”.

“Two police officers attended the newspaper’s Fyshwick office yesterday afternoon, and seized items belonging to journalist Noel Towell which they believe could be evidence in relation to the investigation.
Detective Superintendent Chris Sheehan and Sergeant Allison Williams left with Towell’s digital recorder and notebook.
Towell, who is the newspaper’s legal affairs reporter, had recorded and transcribed an interview about the matter with Mr Cahill last week.”

This is a story with the potential to really shake the smug coterie who think they run this town.
Hopefully the public is eventually allowed to know what’s going on.

[initially posted 14 Nov 2009, 13:02]

UPDATE 17 Nov 2009
Ron Cahill has resigned citing heath issues and escaped further investigation, more details in the ABC report Cahill resigns, commission abandoned.


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Cahill investigation gets serious
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Wilco 5:26 pm 21 Nov 09

In a bizarre twist, Saturday’s Canberra Times reports that the ACT DPP has complained to the ACT Law Society about the professional conduct of the solicitor for the well known Canberra public figure.

It seems Bernard Colleary has written to the Victorian Deputy Chief Magistrate, Peter Lauritsen, urging him not to disqualify himself from the case, and that it be heard ASAP. “Bernie the Attorney” duly ‘filed and served’ his correspondence. However, it seems to have got right up the nose of the DPP, who views it as “inappropriate”; and has dashed off a billet doux to the Canberra ‘Bureau de Spank’.

But while the DPP fiddles, Rome burns. When it comes to its core business of convictions, the ACT prosecutors just can’t take a trick. This week the DPP lost yet another major ACT Supreme Court jury trial. Rather than tilting at windwills, the DPP needs to lift its main game urgently – that of successfully prosecuting cases beyond reasonable doubt.

Tattler40 8:03 pm 18 Nov 09

CK how is the AG responsible for something the Chief Magistrate is alleged to have done and which was reported to him by two other Magistrates? Where is the evidence that Corbell has been engaged in a malicious vendetta against the judiciary on behalf of Stanhope? At least back your emotional statements with some rational argument or fact. I agree that this Govt is a bunch of amateur hacks – but then again what ACT Govt hasn’t been?

The full story of this sad episode will now never be known which is unfortunate because it is a matter that should have been subjected to a rigorous and public examination. The issue of how judicial officers prepare for cases, what information they access and how this impacts on the way they administer the law goes to the heart of our judicial system. It is a shame these important issues will not be given the public airing they so desperately need.

And Mike Crowther – tell you what – when Mr Cahill’s foot is actually amputated I will be among the first to send him a get well card. I personally like the man very much but that doesn’t mean I have the blinkers on regarding what has been alleged in this case. Good people can make mistakes too and those in important roles often make bigger mistakes / misjudgements by virtue of the trust, authority and responsibility with which they are entrusted.

sunshine 7:40 pm 18 Nov 09

OMG!!!!!! this is BIG

Clown Killer 1:29 pm 18 Nov 09

CSRI, it’s my understanding that Corbell is the Attorney General for the ACT. The buck stops with him. If there’s a problem with the way justice is administered in the ACT he’s ultimately responsible – a task that he as been easily distracted from while pursuing malicious vendetta’s against the judiciary on behalf of Stanhope.

Clown Killer said :

This whole sorry saga is yet another example of the incompetence of the Stanhope labor government and the ongoing fiasco caused by Corbells inability to manage his portfolio responsibilities.

how exactly?

caf 11:36 am 18 Nov 09

He hasn’t quite “escape further investigation” yet – what the ABC story leaves out is that the AFP is still investigating under suspicion of “perverting the course of justice”.

Mike Crowther 11:16 pm 17 Nov 09

“If you want to consider Mr Cahill’s resignation from the perspective of a clever tactical move you may be closer to the money.”

Damn clever bugger getting that foot amputated what?

Clown Killer 9:56 pm 17 Nov 09

This whole sorry saga is yet another example of the incompetence of the Stanhope labor government and the ongoing fiasco caused by Corbells inability to manage his portfolio responsibilities.

banco 8:36 pm 17 Nov 09

There better not be any fawning valedictories in the Canberra Times tomorrow. It’s like Nixon resigning to avoid impeachment.

Tattler40 5:56 pm 17 Nov 09

“Looks like a deal has been done, so we might never know the truth of the matter.”

I don’t know about a deal being done, hard to see what kind of deal was available given a criminal investigation was already well underway and a Judicial Commission had been formed. That said it is very unlikely the full circumstances will ever be known – but not through any lack of effort by the government.

If you want to consider Mr Cahill’s resignation from the perspective of a clever tactical move you may be closer to the money. Under the ACT Judicial Commissions Act 1994 there are very relaxed rules regarding the information / evidence that may be considered by a Commission. It is (quite rightly) a much lower standard than that required of evidence presented in a criminal Court. Perhaps Mr Cahill felt his alleged actions in this matter would not withstand the type of scrutiny to be expected in a Judicial Commission hearing. By resigning he has killed off the Judicial Commission as it can only conduct its business in relation to serving judicial officers.

This leaves the criminal investigation being undertaken by the police. Meaning the only way the full circumstances of the matter will ever be revealed to the public is if Mr Cahill is charged with an offence – and if that happens the public will only ever see the information that meets the evidential standards of the criminal Court. Anyone who has ever been involved in the judicial system knows that what is presented in Court and what happened at the time of an alleged incident rarely bear much relation to each other.

AG Canberra 5:16 pm 17 Nov 09

I think the side issue is the supression order and the real issue is: Is it OK for a magistrate (or any other court officer) to provide a brief of information to a visiting magistrate on an upcoming case? Is this standard operating procedure when magistrates are called in to our courts? Do our magistrates just turn up each day and get presented in court details etc of each case as it appears?

If it isn’t standard then a reasonable person might believe that some form of influence was being exerted by Mr Cahill. This would of course depend on the contents of the brief provided.

Time will (might) tell….

wishuwell 12:02 pm 17 Nov 09

If Mr Cahill wants to take them on, doing so as a private citizen would have some advantages.

housebound 11:32 am 17 Nov 09

Article is here:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/17/2744775.htm

Looks like a deal has been done, so we might never know the truth of the matter.

Panhead 11:16 am 17 Nov 09

The smug coterie are starting to drop like flies.

a lot is two words 10:30 am 17 Nov 09

he resigned this morning citing long running medical problems.

Mike Crowther 12:01 am 17 Nov 09

Tattler40. My bet is that Cahill will be found to have done nothing out of the ordinary in this case. I post here regularly and will have to wear it if I’m wrong on this.

If his behavior was appropriate, (and I am absolutely convinced it was), then the only issue left is the appropriateness of the A.G’s actions. And pigs will fly before they ever see a judicial inquiry. If you have better information, why not put it out there with your name on it rather than throw accusations of paranoia from behind a newbie’s moniker?

Clown Killer 11:15 pm 16 Nov 09

This whole business has the unmistakeable stench of Stanhope’s pathetic, vindictive malice all over it.

sepi 8:29 pm 16 Nov 09

I thought Jack Waterford’s article was a bit smug and ‘I know something you don’t know’.

But then I haven’t got a clue what this is all about.

Tattler40 6:51 pm 16 Nov 09

“The man is still restrained from public speech by his holding office. I’m damn sure it wasn’t him who tipped off the media that his office was to be ‘raided’.”

Sorry, but I am struggling to understand how Mr Cahill’s statements to the Canberra Times and his lengthy interview with Ross Solly on ABC radio immediately after the Police executed a search warrant on the Magistrates’ Court demonstrate how his office prevents him from speaking publicly on the issue.

Where and when has it ever been stated that the media were tipped off about the so-called police ‘raid’ on his office?

This type of conspiracy theory nonsense says much about the paranoia of the writer and contributes nothing to the overall debate regarding the appropriateness of a senior judicial officer’s behaviour – which is the real issue.

Mike Crowther 5:09 pm 16 Nov 09

I disagree abc. I think the sideline is the suppressed case. (Which if done to protect a vulnerable victim I heartily endorse). The real issue is whether a soon-to-retire judicial officer was planning to dump a bucket on the Governments handling of justice in the territory. Is this a trumped-up pre-emptive strike on the man’s character? The man is still restrained from public speech by his holding office. I’m damn sure it wasn’t him who tipped off the media that his office was to be ‘raided’. Regardless of the findings of the Judicial inquiry, and any post retirement observations made by Ron Cahill will be countered by the government as the sour-grapes ranting of a bloke who ended his career under ‘some sort of a cloud’. (Supported by the general public’s poor memory and dislike for detail)
The fix is well and truly in on this one.

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