Judge rejects bias claims

Cases

Judge rejects bias claims

Justice Boland of the NSW IRC has refused to disqualify himself on the grounds of ‘apprehension of bias’.

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Justice Boland of the NSW IRC has refused to disqualify himself on the grounds of ‘apprehension of bias’.

The judge noted that his intervention in cross-examination was justified as the applicant had strayed into irrelevant and unrelated issues. His Honour acknowledged that he did raise his voice - ‘borne out of a sense of frustration’.

This matter had been before the Commission for almost three years. The applicant persisted in seeking a summary judgment and had been consistently refused in a number of hearings.

Bias claims rejected

Justice Boland stated:

'My intervention in Mr Crewdson's cross-examination of witnesses ... was, in my opinion, appropriate and necessary because of what I considered to be Mr Crewdson's circuitous and lengthy questioning and my frequent difficulty in understanding what issue he was seeking to explore.

'...the applicant renewed his application that I disqualify myself. Mr Crewdson contended that during these proceedings I accused the applicant of being vexatious and "shouted loudly" at him; that I said certain submissions by the applicant lacked credibility; and, that I have refused to take into consideration the protections that are meant to apply to the applicant under the Protected Disclosures Act 1994. I am not certain what Mr Crewdson meant about this last allegation.

'It is not the case that I shouted loudly at Mr Crewdson but I certainly did raise my voice and I did suggest his conduct was bordering on vexatious. It was inappropriate for me to raise my voice but it was borne out of a sense of frustration.

'Over what is now nearly three years this Court has spent an inordinate amount of time attempting to finalise the hearing of Mr Crewdson's substantive application and make a determination. The delay is clearly not all Mr Crewdson's fault but his obsessive pre-occupation with attempting to achieve a judgment on admissions or summary judgment, matters in respect of which I have given three interlocutory judgments and a Full Bench one judgment, has contributed significantly to the delay and prompted my "vexatious" comment. Despite the appeal judgment, Mr Crewdson continues to insist that he is entitled to summary judgment.

'As for my comment that the applicant's reliance on his difficult living situation was losing credibility, Mr Crewdson has repeatedly referred to his difficult circumstances over the past 33 months in order to gain expedition of various proceedings.’

See: Crewdson v New South Wales Department of Community Services & Anor (No 8) [2004] NSWIRComm 6 - Boland J - 10 February 2004.


 

   

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