Noel Nunan is a recently retired Queensland Magistrate. He served on the bench for nearly 27 years. In the early years of his magistracy he was based in MT Isa and Cairns and then moved back to Brisbane. Before becoming a magistrate he helped establish Caxton Legal Centre and practiced as a barrister for a number of years.
#NoelNunan talks about
· The resistance to setting up the first community legal centre in Queensland
· Getting arrested when he accidentally wondered into a protest with Drew Hutton (former leader of the Qld Greens)
· The early history of Caxton Legal Centre
· The early days of the publication of the Caxton Street law handbook
· His recollections that at one point a notable Brisbane lawyer was actively telling junior lawyers not to volunteer at a community legal centre as it might damage their career.
· His move to the bench and why as a magistrate he acted as coroner in the coronial inquest into the death of the #Lonergans in the late 1980.
· How his involvement in the Lonergan inquest made world wide news as the Lonergans were American divers left behind on a reef
· Why wearing a Hawaiian shirt to a sight visit to the reef may not have been such a good idea
· How the most important witnesses on the inquest all refused to answer questions on the grounds that it might incriminate them
· How Noel brought this to the attention of the then Attorney General Matt Foley resulting in law reform that now requires witnesses to answer questions even the evidence they give may incriminate themselves
· The improvements to the processes and procedures of the industry as a result of that inquiry.
· How he once accepted a beer from Peter Shields (when Peter was a solicitor) as a magistrates and didn’t reciprocate and why he felt uncomfortable about that.
· What he regrets about his involvement in the Heiner inquiry and his involvement with Lindenburg (an inquiry into the John Oxley centre where there were serious allegations of abuse perpetrated against children and relevant documents were destroyed)
· How his comment to Lindenburg that if there is a choice between a stuff up or a conspiracy you take the cock up every time might have been misinterpreted
· How he was tasked with investigating whether the cabinet broke the law and should be prosecuted for allowing the destruction of the documents gathered during the course of the inquiry.
· Some of the more colourful people that appeared before him
· His comments in the Jacob Reichman matter who was accused of holding himself out as a solicitor.
· Why the sentencing option of intensive corrections orders were so useful in remote aboriginal communities. It meant that families could stay together but the accused would need to in Noel’s own words or thereabouts “Give up the grog and the ganga or be sent to the big house in Townsville”
· The case of the return of the penis rings
Obviously this was a very fun interview and not surprising given Noel’s good humour. It also includes a litany of notable Queensland law graduates and how their paths crossed with Noel. People like #WayneGoss, #MattFoley, Retired Justice #AnnLyons, #DrewHutton (former long term leader of the Queensland Greens), #KenHayward, #MollyRobson and so many more.
If you want to find out more about Noel you can contact him through the website www.lorettakreet.com by sending me an email.
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