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National Observer Home > No. 52 - Autumn 2002 >Legal Notes

Should Justice Michael Kirby Resign?

Dr. I.C.F. Spry, Q.C.

On 12 March 2002, Senator Heffernan indicated in the Senate that Justice Michael Kirby “has come to the attention of senior police and the Child Protection Agency in New South Wales”, and stated, “I have personally interviewed at great length, and obtained statutory declarations from, former rent boys from Sydney and Wollongong who worked the Wall in Darlinghurst as young male prostitutes, some of whom were taken to an address in Darley Street — an address known to the police, adjacent to the Wall — by this judge on various occasions in a fee-for-service arrangement.” Senator Heffernan alleged that the judge “regularly trawled for rough trade at the Darlinghurst Wall” and stated, “I also have in my possession Comcar driver records which document this same judge using this taxpayer funded service on a regular basis to pick up from an address known to the police as Clapton Place — adjacent to King’s Cross — a young male and accompany him to the judge’s home address.”

Senator Heffernan was subsequently informed that one of the Comcar driver records that had been given to him was not authentic. Under great political pressure, he apologised to Justice Kirby on 19 March 2002 and withdrew his allegations unreservedly.

It is evident that the various allegations made by Senator Heffernan were of a very serious nature. It would be appropriate for them to be investigated fully by the Attorney-General, and that in due course the results of his investigations be put before the Parliament. 1 

I.C.F. Spry


1. Although Senator Heffernan was shown to have been misled in one particular, he showed commendable courage in drawing these important matters to public attention.






National Observer No. 52 - Autumn 2002