Stephen Keim, the barrister who represented Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef, had a victory this morning, with Queensland’s Legal Services Commissioner exonerating him for the act of releasing his client’s records of interview.

One of the complainants against Keim was none other than Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty. In fact, as recently as this week, Keelty was still banging on about Keim’s disclosure. Of course, what Keelty conveniently forgets, but what the Legal Services Commissioner obviously took into account was that, in the circumstances, Keim’s actions were thoroughly justified.

This is because, despite what Keelty says, the AFP was busily leaking information that was adverse to Dr Haneef after they arrested him in July last year.

It’s about time that Mick Keelty simply recognised what the rest of the community knows — that he and his organisation performed lamentably in the Haneef investigation and that he should stop trying to blame others, like Keim.

The Keim case of course illustrates why it is that the Australian legal system needs to grow up and allow lawyers to speak directly to the media about their clients’ cases and release any documentation if it is appropriate to do so, and their client consents. This is the situation in many other countries in the world, and if such rules applied in Australia, Queensland taxpayers would have been saved thousands of dollars, because the Legal Services Commissioner would have had nothing to investigate.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey