Smith sticks to bias claim

ONE of the lawyers fiercely attacked over his conduct during the public inquiry into Tweed Shire Council says he was just doing his job.

Tony Smith, the council's solicitor and principal of Murwillumbah-based law firm Stacks Northern Rivers, told the Daily News that claims that he only represented majority councillors were misconceived.

And he revealed his frustration that the council was sacked before he could use legal means to argue that inquiry commissioner Professor Maurice Daly was biased.

Prof Daly has recommended the NSW Law Society and Legal Services Commission investigate whether Mr Smith broke any rules pertaining to the conduct of a solicitor after accusing him of "repeated acts of contempt of the inquiry", "playing politics" and breaching his contract by representing only majority councillors, not "the body corporate".

Mr Smith said Stacks was instructed, unanimously by the whole council, to appear at the inquiry and the brief was to act for the body corporate, not individual councillors.

"We followed our brief," Mr Smith said.

He said Stacks had received advice from barrister Brett Walker, a senior counsel, that he had found a case for bias against Professor Daly in correspondence to the government about the council.

"The council was dismissed before it could take any action on that advice," he said.

Mr Smith said as an advocate for his client it was his duty to "use all reasonable arguments available to me to ram home the justice of my client's case."

"That is what I did," he added.

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