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  • Unreported Judgment

Whittaker v Justice Dodds

 

[2005] QSC 181

SUPREME COURT OF QUEENSLAND

CIVIL JURISDICTION

MUIR J

Application No 180 of 2005

MARK ALAN WHITTAKER

Applicant

and

 

JUSTICE KEITH DODDS

First Respondent

and

 

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Second Respondent

CAIRNS

DATE 01/06/2005

JUDGMENT

HIS HONOUR: Mr Whittaker seeks to have the matter adjourned on the basis he needs more time to prepare. He submits that there are complex legal issues raised in the matter and informs the Court that he did not receive the Attorney-General's outline until Sunday because, although it may well have been delivered on Friday to the letterbox, it somehow found its way into the bushes and was recovered on Sunday. Mr Whittaker was aware of the order that the outline be provided by Friday and it was his responsibility to check to see whether it had arrived and, if it had not, he could easily have made an inquiry of the Crown, in which case he would have been informed that it had in fact been-----

APPLICANT: I object entirely there. It was Friday afternoon service, your Honour. I couldn't check between Friday and Sunday.

HIS HONOUR: That it had been delivered. In any event, the point raised in the matter is a very short one and it is well within the capabilities of a person with Mr Whittaker's abilities to get on top of the matter if he so desires between Sunday and now. Accordingly, I refuse the request for the adjournment.

HIS HONOUR: I give leave for the affidavit to be filed and read.

HIS HONOUR: Mark Alan Whittaker brought an application for statutory review in respect of a decision of a Judge of the District Court finding him in contempt of Court and ordering that he pay a penalty of $300. The application reveals that the contempt concerned a direction given by the Judge to Mr Whittaker to cease recording in Court. Mr Whittaker complains, amongst other things, of a breach of the rules of natural justice, error of law, and asserts “that the decision was induced or affected by fraud”.

He has appealed to the Court of Appeal in respect of the judgment which was, in turn, an appeal from a decision of a Magistrate convicting him of driving an unregistered vehicle, driving uninsured, and of an offence concerning cancellation of licence plates. I glean these matters from a copy of Mr Whittaker's amended notice of appeal which is exhibited to an affidavit filed by leave today. The notice of appeal expressly excludes the orders in respect of contempt. The original notice of appeal, however, did not do so. Mr Whittaker decided he needed to amend the notice of appeal.

HIS HONOUR: His belief, it would seem, was that there was no ability to appeal in respect of the contempt matter.

Mr Whittaker's fears are ill-founded. I have no doubt that a right of appeal exists under section 118 of the District Courts Act 1967. Although leave to appeal may be necessary, that does not produce the result that the right of appeal is not an alternative avenue as contemplated by sections 12 and 13 of the Judicial Review Act.

HIS HONOUR: See Stubblefield v Webster (1996) 2 Qd Reports, 211. This is a case then in which the applicant has sought review of the matter in another Court, namely the Court of Appeal. It is also a case in which, looking at the language of section 12 of the Judicial Review Act, adequate provision is made by law other than this Act under which the applicant is entitled to seek a review of the matter by the Court or another Court.

In the course of argument I suggested to Mr Whittaker that it may be preferable for the contempt matter concerning, as it does, allegations made about a Judge of the District Court to be determined by the Court of Appeal, rather than a single Judge of the Supreme Court. Mr Whittaker I rather think saw some merit in that proposition, although he holds the justice system overall in scant respect.

In my opinion, as Mr Whittaker's substantive appeal from the District Court decision will go ahead in the Court of Appeal, it would be unnecessarily duplicitous for the appeal not to contain all aspects of the matter, and it would also be desirable, having regard to the subject matter of the complaint, that it be determined other than by a single Judge. Mr Whittaker was concerned, as he put it, about two issues being rolled into one in the appeal - the substantive aspects and the contempt aspects - but that is not a matter of concern. Appeals often proceed where there are a considerable number of grounds, each of which has to be looked at by the Appellate Court on the merit. I see no prospect of confusion or detriment to Mr Whittaker's interests by having the contempt matter heard by the Court which deals with the substantive matter. Indeed, that Court will be better appraised of the overall facts.

Accordingly, I order that the application for statutory order of review filed 18 April 2005 be dismissed.

Mr Whittaker has made submissions about costs. It seems to me that it would be inappropriate to order that Mr Whittaker pay the costs of the statutory order of review. He was entitled to bring it. It was open under the Judicial Review Act. I have dismissed it because of the matters that I have mentioned, but in my view the appropriate order as to costs is that the applicant, Mark Alan Whittaker, pay the costs of the Attorney-General of and incidental to today's hearing to be assessed on the standard basis.

HIS HONOUR: Mr Whittaker made further submissions on the question of costs. Mr Whittaker is an articulate gentleman who gave me the distinct impression in the course of his submissions that he had little trouble in getting on top of the issues well within the time available. I see no reason to depart from the order that I have made.

Close

Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Mark Alan Whittaker v Justice Keith Dodds

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Whittaker v Justice Dodds

  • MNC:

    [2005] QSC 181

  • Court:

    QSC

  • Judge(s):

    Muir J

  • Date:

    01 Jun 2005

Litigation History

No Litigation History

Appeal Status

No Status