Former Cairns District Court Judge Brian Harrison, who died in Cairns on Wednesday 10 October 2019, was well known to many Mackay legal practitioners.
Brian Harrison was a character who enjoyed life, enjoyed a drink, enjoyed sport and enjoyed a bet. Brian is a shareholder in Legal Procedure, Legal Ties, Legal Asset and Legal Chance who are all racehorses trained by Lyle Rowe in Rockhampton.
Brian moved from Cairns to manage the Australian Legal Aid Office in Mackay in 1981. After moving to Mackay, Brian lived with John Taylor (Taylors Solicitors) and Dennis Gregor (Surveyor & Town Planner) in Macalister Street.
Outside of work at the Legal Aid office he enjoyed playing touch football, indoor cricket and other sports. He had a high regard for umpires. He was well known for his dummy spits when umpires made decisions that he disagreed with.
Brian practised as a Solicitor in Mackay until he went to the Bar (the legal Bar) in Rockhampton in 1986.
Brian practised as a Barrister in Rockhampton for five (5) years and then later returned and practised as a Barrister in Mackay in 1991, until he was appointed to the District Court in 2010.
In addition to his legal activities, and drinking and gambling at the Palace Hotel (which was run by Butch McCall) every Saturday afternoon, Brian Harrison was involved in a number of Mackay community activities.
In the days when each Mackay and district sugar mill had a local Board (a statutory authority), which presided over Cane Supply Contracts between millers and growers, and more importantly resolved any disputes between millers and growers, Brian Harrison was the Chairman of each local Board. Mr Paul Schembri, Chairman of Canegrowers Queensland, when asked to comment on Brian’s activities on the local boards, said that Brian Harrison not only had a great knowledge of the law but understood and related to the industry, people involved and was considered amongst the best Chairman of all local Boards across Queensland.
Brian was also, for a period of time, the Vice President of the Mackay Cricket Association Inc and engaged in the development and improvement of Harrup Park.
As a Barrister, Brian was frequently engaged by Macrossan & Amiet to argue Court cases with respect to criminal, civil, family law and compensation matters. He was successful in numerous cases as a result of his legal knowledge, his grasp of relevant factual issues and ability to convey his argument succinctly.
Brian’s appointment as District Court Judge in 2010 was well received by the Mackay legal community and his friends.
Subsequent to his moving to Cairns, my contact with Brian Harrison was limited to phone calls where we discussed the performance of members of the “legal team” trained by Lyle Rowe.
The Directors and staff of Macrossan & Amiet offer their sincere condolences to Brian’s family.