Judge accused of assault too unwell to appear in court

Ethan James |

Justice Gregory Geason (right) is accused of assault and emotional abuse or intimidation.
Justice Gregory Geason (right) is accused of assault and emotional abuse or intimidation.

A Supreme Court judge accused of assault and emotional abuse or intimidation hasn’t appeared in court in person for an administrative hearing because he was unwell.

Gregory Peter Geason, 62, previously pleaded not guilty to the allegations after being charged by police in early December.

Geason, who was appointed to the Supreme Court of Tasmania in 2017, dialled in by phone for his second appearance in Hobart Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

“The defendant is too unwell to be in court,” his lawyer Fabiano Cangelosi said.

According to court documents, the alleged emotional abuse and intimidation occurred between April and November.

Geason allegedly assaulted the person on October 31 by grabbing their arms and squeezing, shaking them and striking them with his hand.

He is accused of tracking a person’s movements using technology and coercing the person into establishing a shared phone account to gain access to their electronic records.

Mr Cangelosi said he received a “large volume” of evidence last week which would take around six weeks to “come to grips” with.

Magistrate Michael Daly said a temporary interstate magistrate would be brought in to deal with the substantive hearing.

He said each of the court’s magistrates had determined they couldn’t hear the case, either because of professional or personal relationships with Geason or the nature of the proceedings.

Mr Daly said the court must be seen to maintain public confidence and impartiality because of Geason’s status as a judge. 

The matter was adjourned until April 30, when the length of a hearing is expected to be determined.

Geason, who took leave from his position in early November, had his bail continued.

He has given a written undertaking he will not seek or attempt to exercise the powers of a judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania while the criminal proceedings are ongoing. 

It is also alleged Geason subjected the person to verbal abuse, made remarks about their professional and personal life and persistently yelled and screamed.

He also demanded they contribute $300,000 equity from their home and pressured them to sign the contract of a sale on a house, it is alleged.

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

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Lifeline 13 11 14