Judge's strange act brings court to screeching halt
A JUDGE has withdrawn from a hearing due to his previous dealings with former Cairns barrister Anthony Mirotsos.
Mr Mirotsos - the former head of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce - was indicted last year on 46 charges of fraud.
The Crown alleges he misappropriated funds for his own use between July 2014 and July 2016.
He has not entered pleas to the charges.
The long-running matter was due to progress to pre-trial arguments but proceedings came to a screeching halt when Judge Dean Morzone outlined possible conflicts of interest if he heard the matter.
He told the court he had given Mr Mirotsos "ad hoc" legal advice in 2014 at the site of the Bluewater tavern development.
"I was unaware that he was a director of the company and that complicates things further," Judge Morzone said.
No money exchanged hands for the advice.
He also mentioned an instance when Mr Mirotsos had instructed him during a matter in the Family Court.
"These matters give me some concern," Judge Morzone said.
"I have come to view that I should not hear it."
Crown prosecutor Eddie Coker said that Judge Tracy Fantin might also find herself in conflict given the defendant's previous role as a Cairns legal practitioner and suggested hearing the matter in another court jurisdiction in order to progress the case before the trial date.
"I am loath to adjourn it to January given the trial is listed for late February," he said.
Judge Morzone adjourned the hearing to a date to be fixed.