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Parliament to consider fate of judge accused of assault

Ethan JamesAAP
Justice Gregory Geason (right) pleaded not guilty to charges of common assault and emotional abuse. (HANDOUT/7 TASMANIA NEWS)
Camera IconJustice Gregory Geason (right) pleaded not guilty to charges of common assault and emotional abuse. (HANDOUT/7 TASMANIA NEWS) Credit: AAP

Tasmania's parliament has been recalled to consider the future of a judge accused of emotional abuse and assault.

Justice Gregory Geason fronted Hobart Magistrates Court during an after-hours session on Friday.

He pleaded not guilty to one charge of emotional abuse, allegedly spanning from April to November, and one count of common assault said to have occurred on October 31.

Justice Geason was granted bail and is expected to reappear in court in early February.

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Tasmania's Attorney-General Guy Barnett on Tuesday said state parliament would be recalled on December 12 to consider legislation to establish an inquiry into Justice Geason.

Mr Barnett said the inquiry would subsequently report to parliament about whether Justice Geason should, or should not, be suspended or removed as a judge.

Mr Barnett on November 3 issued a statement saying a judge, now known to be Justice Geason, had been asked to take leave over a "significant matter".

"Under the Supreme Court (Judges' Independence) Act 1857, the governor may only suspend or remove a judge from office on address from both houses of parliament," Mr Barnett said.

"While parliament is able to inform itself in the manner that it thinks fit, it is important to pass legislation to establish an independent commission of inquiry to inquire into the matter."

Mr Barnett said he had also directed the Department of Justice to prepare a discussion paper about the merits of establishing a judicial review commission in Tasmania, similar to other states.

"This will also outline options for handling complaints and concerns about the conduct of judicial officers," he said.

Tasmania's administrator of courts apologised to media at the weekend after they were denied entry to Justice Geason's court appearance.

"This was the result of a decision made in unusual and unprecedented circumstances," the statement said.

"The magistrates court remains committed to providing open access to court proceedings."

Justice Geason was appointed to the Supreme Court of Tasmania in 2017.

He was admitted to practice in 1987 and worked as a crown prosecutor in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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