Friday, 24 April 2020
The Law Society of Western Australia notes, following a media release from the Joint Standing Committee on the Corruption and Crime Commission dated 23 April 2020, that the Committee has been unable to reach either a bipartisan or a majority decision in support of the recommendation to reappoint the current incumbent the Hon John McKechnie QC. The Law Society acknowledges Mr McKechnie’s commitment to tackling corruption and his significant contribution to the WA legal profession and community for more than 40 years.
Law Society President Nicholas van Hattem said, “During his five-year term as Commissioner, the Hon Mr McKechnie QC has served with distinction. He has brought strong leadership to the office and led a number of significant investigations.
The Law Society is grateful for Mr McKechnie’s outstanding service to the legal profession and wider community. His time as Commissioner represents the continuation of his lifelong commitment to the administration of justice.
It is difficult to imagine a candidate more qualified than Mr McKechnie for this important role.
The notion that this important role, a key office in our democracy, be vacant, is a troubling notion for the Law Society and the legal profession.
The Law Society calls for the vacancy to be filled with an appropriately qualified candidate as soon as possible.”
The Hon John McKechnie QC began his legal career with articles at Jackson McDonald and was admitted in 1974. In 1976, he joined the Crown Law Department (now State Solicitor’s Office). In 1989 he was appointed Queen’s Counsel and in 1991 became the State’s inaugural Director of Public Prosecutions. In 1999, Mr McKechnie was appointed as a judge of Supreme Court. After 16 years on the bench he retired in 2015 to take up a five-year appointment as Corruption and Crime Commissioner.
Aside from his distinguished legal career, the Commissioner has been active in voluntary work, being on the board and Chair of various not-for-profit organisations, teaching students trial practice and authoring legal texts. He has been a valued member of the Law Society for 45 years and is a highly respected member of the Law Society’s Brief Editorial Committee.