Court to rule on judge's refusal to hear alleged bikie case
A LEGAL battle to remove a temporary stay on a bail review related to an alleged bikie will be heard in Queensland's highest court this Friday.
The State of Queensland lodged a review last Friday against Supreme Court Justice George Fryberg's refusal to deal with the matter.
Justice Fryberg was asked to hear an application to review a decision to grant bail to alleged Bandido Jared Kevin Anthony Brown over his alleged involvement in a bikie brawl on the Gold Coast.
That brawl sparked a government crackdown on bikies and new legislation rushed through parliament to demand tougher jail terms for bikies, including adjusting the bail rules.
Justice Fryberg said he feared revoking bail, one possible outcome of the review, would send the public a message he was influenced by comments from Premier Campbell Newman about the case.
He was satisfied Mr Newman's comments in media reports suggested the man should not have bail.
He temporarily stayed the case amid fears a decision in favour of the Crown would damage the integrity of Queensland's justice system.
Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff told the Queensland Court of Appeal during a brief mention on Monday morning that the State of Queensland could proceed immediately.
But John Allen, counsel for Mr Brown, asked for a three-week adjournment so Legal Aid Queensland could brief a barrister prepared to accept Legal Aid rates.
"This is a matter which at its foundation has the question of the liberty of (Mr Brown) but it also, with respect to the issue of this appeal, concerns a matter of great importance to the administration of justice," he said.
Mr Allen said three weeks was much shorter than the timeframe normally required.
But Queensland Court of Appeal president Margaret McMurdo said she believed the court should dispose of the matter this week.
She said someone of Mr Allen's experience, or someone more senior if necessary could pick up the case in a day.
"Although it is a matter of great public importance and it does involve big issues, it isn't a complicated matter," she said "I've read the record and I've read Justice Fryberg's judgment.
"It relates to a bail review which is to be disposed of as quickly as possible."
If the Court of Appeal removes the stay, the Crown can immediately lodge the bail review in the Brisbane Supreme Court again.
The appeal will be heard at 9.30am on Friday.