‘No longer a judicial officer’: Judge resigns during conduct probe

The state’s Chief Justice says that judicial officers who don’t “uphold the highest standards of respectful and decent conduct” should not expect to remain in office, after a District Court Judge resigned while under investigation by the Judicial Conduct Commissioner.

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Judge Timothy Heffernan was referred to the Commissioner after being the subject of a complaint about his conduct and resigned on May 17, Chief Judge Michael Evans said.

Heffernan had served in the District Court, Licensing Court and Environment, Resources and Development Court.

“As the Judge is no longer a judicial officer, the Judicial Conduct Commissioner was bound to terminate the investigation without making any findings,” Evans said in a statement.

Chief Justice Chris Kourakis said he would “make no comment on the investigation of Judge Heffernan which has now terminated without any finding being made”.

“However, speaking generally, the community rightly expects that those persons to whom it entrusts the administration of justice observe the highest standards of respectful and decent conduct, according to all with whom they interact the dignity to which they are entitled,” Kourakis said.

“Any person who cannot meet those standards should not seek judicial office or expect to remain in office.”

State Courts Administrator Penny Croser the Courts Administration Authority was “committed to providing a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace for all employees”.

“We have a range of measures to support employees throughout any investigation and complaint management process. At all times, the wellbeing of CAA employees is the priority when managing complaints, including complaints about a judicial officer,” Croser said.

In November 2022, South Australian magistrate Simon Milazzo was fired after a 17-month Judicial Conduct Commissioner inquiry into sexual harassment complaints.

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