Premier Campbell Newman this week accused defence lawyers of being hired guns, claiming that they are a part of the criminal gang machine and that they ‘take money from people who sell drugs to our teenagers and young people’.
In comments made this week, Mr Newman responded to advice given to accused bikie gang members that they should stay away from court, or risk being charged under anti-association laws, calling defence lawyers disingenuous.
The Queensland Law Society responded to the comments, calling on Mr Newman to reconsider his deeply disturbing words. President Ian Brown has remarked that Mr Newman’s comments are inappropriate, and go the the heart of the entire legal profession, not simply defence lawyers.
The Queensland Bar Association also weighed in on Mr Newman’s comments, President Peter Davis QC has called the comments misconceived, unfair and objectionable. Mr Davis has called on the Premier to unequivocally revoke his unjustified comments.
Defence lawyer Michael Bosscher, of Bosscher Lawyers, called Mr Newman’s comments ‘political dribble at best’, stating that ‘A year 10 student undertaking legal studies at school would have a greater understanding of the various elements of the justice system than the Premier has expressed in these comments.’
Mr Bosscher further remarked that, ‘Clearly he (Mr Newman) has no understanding whatsoever of the role of a criminal defence lawyer in the justice system, what the onus of proof means and the fact that every person who is charged with an offence is entitled to be properly defended and is presumed innocent until proven guilty’.
Mr Bosscher has called upon Mr Newman to apologise to all Queensland lawyers for his remarks.