A law firm at the centre of Queensland’s bikie laws controversy is considering whether to sue the state’s premier over comments made at a news conference.
A Gold Coast law firm is threatening to sue Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and the state’s attorney-general for suggesting they are part of the “criminal gang machine” for defending bikies.
Mr Newman has incurred the wrath of the legal profession this week for suggesting defence lawyers acting for bikies are “hired guns” who take money from criminals selling drugs to teenagers.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie on Friday backed his boss, but argued the premier wasn’t besmirching all criminal lawyers.
“The premier did not in any stage of his interview talk about the entire legal profession,” he told reporters.
“The premier was asked about a specific matter.”
At a media conference on Thursday, Mr Newman was asked about a law firm that had advised its clients to stay away from court, fearing they could be charged under new anti-association laws, which make it illegal for three or more bikies to gather in public.
But Mr Bleijie said the premier was referring to Hannay Lawyers, based on the Gold Coast, with the attorney-general adding he was quite disturbed by their advice and fear campaign.
“Of course I agree with the premier’s comments in respect of the context in which they were given,” he said.
Hannay Lawyers have told AAP they were contacting a prominent Queen’s Counsel barrister about possible defamation action against Mr Newman and Mr Bleijie “in relation to their most recent public comments”.
“To denigrate the criminal law profession and in particular, my law firm, with baseless and unsubstantiated allegations does nothing to assist to resolve the issues concerning the highly controversial anti-association laws implemented by the premier,” the law firm’s principal Christopher Hannay said in a statement.
“His comments are nothing but emotional, grossly ill-informed political lip service and as one senior legal professional, I would describe it as political dribble,” he said, adding it was “repulsive” and “gutter politics” to suggest solicitors were complicit in a crime.
Another criminal lawyer Adam Magill, who has represented Finks bikie members, said the premier needed to apologise to the legal profession.
“To suggest we’re part of that particular line of profession is troubling and absolutely ridiculous – it pales in comparison to the term ridiculous,” he told AAP.
“Now he’s trying to back pedal.
Queensland Bar Association president Peter Davis QC and Peter Shields, a former police officer turned lawyer who represents some alleged bikies, have also demanded apologies from the premier.