political correctness in queensland courts

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    A Supreme Court justice has found commissioner Tony Morris was ostensibly biased in his handling of witnesses at the Commission of Inquiry into serious malpractice allegations against doctor Jayant Patel.

    Dr Patel was head of surgery at the Bundaberg Base Hospital in south-east Queensland between 2003 and early 2005.

    The inquiry was also looking into other concerns about the delivery of health services in Queensland.

    Justice Martin Moynihan has found Mr Morris displayed a lack of impartiality regarding stood-aside hospital executives Peter Leck and Darren Keating.

    The pair launched legal action seeking to disqualify Mr Morris and his deputies on the grounds they displayed apprehended bias and differential treatment towards witnesses who testified at the inquiry.

    Dr Keating's lawyer alleged Mr Morris's questioning of his client was carried out in a cynical and sarcastic tone.

    Speaking outside the court, the lawyer for the Bundaberg Hospital Patients Support Group, Ian Brown, urged the Queensland Government to act immediately and set up a new Commission of Inquiry.

    "The patients are very disappointed by the outcome," he said. "They want closure on this."


    The Queensland Government is considering a number of options to ensure the inquiry continues, including referring misconduct allegations to the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

    Premier Peter Beattie says the inquiry is in limbo until Justice Moynihan finalises all submissions.

    "The court, they have found ostensible bias," he said. "They will have to make orders tomorrow in relation to the inquiry itself.

    "But based on those findings today, clearly the inquiry is in limbo until those orders are made tomorrow."

    The parties involved will meet Justice Moynihan tomorrow morning to discuss the formal orders. Those orders could decide the future of the inquiry.

    ABC Online

    Dave R.
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