QUEENSLAND'S 88 magistrates have been stripped of their ability to hear contested bail applications for alleged members of outlaw bikie gangs in a move which is set to inflame the judiciary.Chief Magistrate Tim Carmody has issued an edict that will effectively ensure he makes all the decisions in cases of disputed bail for accused bikies.
The Newman Government and the judiciary have been at loggerheads over several bikie cases with tough new laws banning outlaw gang members from being granted bail.
However, several bikies have been granted bail by magistrates because the prosecution was not able to successfully prove they were gang members.
The extraordinary decree by Judge Carmody will enrage members of the Queensland magistracy who will see the decision from the recently-appointed chief magistrate as a slight on their professionalism.
The practise direction, dated November 4, states it applies to any contested bail application throughout the state which has not yet been set down for hearing.
"Unless the Chief Magistrate otherwise orders in the interests of justice, all bail applications to which this practise direction applies, will be listed for hearing in Court 20 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court, not before 2.30pm,'' Judge Carmody said. "No more than 2 applications may be listed on one day.''
The directive states the primary objective was to ensure all applications proceed without delay as well as reduce costs for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and ensure "security for all".
The decision means contested bail application cases from outside Brisbane will have to be heard via video link.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie last night declined to comment on Judge Carmody's directive.
However, it comes after the Government was left seething over Sunshine Coast Magistrate Bernadette Callaghan's decision to granted bail to an alleged bikie because his Rebels gang membership could not be proved.
The alleged bikie, Lorne James Campbell, is facing extortion charges.
The Bar Association this morning condemned Judge Carmody's directive, insisting the chief magistrate reconsider the decision.
"The Bar Association of Queensland does not support a practice by which applications brought by particular classes of citizens are brought before a particular judicial officer,'' president Roger Traves QC said.
"If that be the practical effect of the Practice Direction, then the Bar Association respectfully urges the Chief Magistrate to reconsider it.
"The principles of fairness and equality before the law are best served by the court as a whole dealing with these applications, not a designated judicial officer."