Queensland’s Chief Justice Paul de Jersey agrees with Attorney-General Linda Lavarch’s decision not to accept a proposal for Jayant “Dr Death” Patel to return voluntarily to face charges, Crikey has learned
The judge has expressed his thoughts on the controversy in conservations with colleagues not in any formal way. Crikey can also reveal that three senior QCs, one involved with the “Dr Death” matter, also back the Lavarch decision.
Two other barristers contacted by Crikey thought the deal should have been accepted on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions, revealing fairly evenly divided opinion in legal circles about Lavarch’s decision to reject the plan.
Last week The Australian’s reported the deal had been blocked by the Beattie Government in June because an election was looming — a theory that remains unsubstantiated.
On Monday, the paper accused Lavarch of misleading Parliament, with Tony Koch commenting that she may have to resign. Today Koch says “the “misleading” was so feeble and easily checked it defies belief that it was done deliberately”.
No compassionate person who watched Linda Lavarch’s performance last week and her resignation yesterday, complete with the release of a letter from her psychiatrist, should doubt that she is suffering depression, though The Australian apparently does. The print version headline on its lead story says “Depression cited as A-G quits amid Dr Death storm”.
That “doubt” is based on quotes from Ian Hickie, a former Beyondblue adviser, hinting that Lavarch may only be suffering “acute distress” and that using the excuse of depression will mislead the public about the nature of the ailment.
Scepticism is a fine thing in journalism, but it does not justify guesswork, conspiracy theories and professional slurs.