Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie. Kari Bourne

Bleijie absent from controversial judge's ceremony

RETIRING Supreme Court Justice George Fryberg tried to dispel furore surrounding the Attorney-General's conspicuous absence at his valedictory ceremony marking almost 20 years on the bench.

He said he would not take it personally that Jarrod Bleijie did not attend the event this morning despite his recent tension with the executive over the Newman Government's controversial new laws targeting bikies.

Mr Bleijie was unveiling wax sculptures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Will and Kate, and then addressed 180 community Justices of the Peace, both on the Gold Coast.

He responded to those outraged on Twitter that the JP event had been a long-standing commitment to "champs" who do an "amazing job" across Queensland.

Justice Fryberg controversially stayed an application to review a bail decision to free an alleged bikie because he believed the integrity of the court could be damaged.

The government had just passed legislation that required accused people to prove they were not bikies to get bail.
Justice Fryberg believed if he revoked bail, the community would feel he was bending to the will of the government after reading comments Premier Campbell Newman made about his expectations of the judiciary.

The Court of Appeal overturned the decision but the Director of Public Prosecutions did not proceed with the bail review.

Justice Fryberg, outside court, said a judge's role was to afford equal justice under the laws.

"We can't be responsive to fleeting community passions any more than we should be," he said.

But Justice Fryberg said he had been a strong advocate for making the courts more accessible to the public and keeping up with technology with e-trials and power point slides during addresses.

"There are suggestions from time to time to televise proceedings but frankly I think that would be awfully boring television and I can't imagine anyone would want to sit and watch it," he said.

Justice Fryberg told a packed Banco courtroom, that spilled over into another court despite being the biggest in the new court building, he would continue to pursue his studies in Chinese in retirement and looked forward to more time with his wife Geraldine and his grandchildren.

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