Former WA chief justice David Malcolm dies


Former West Australian chief justice David Kingsley Malcolm achieved a lot during his 18 years in the role, and will be remembered as a kind and patient man by those who knew him.

Mr Malcolm, who retired from the Supreme Court bench in 2006, died on Monday aged 76.

Current chief justice Wayne Martin led the tributes to Mr Malcolm, saying it was only once in a generation that someone of his calibre came along.

"The Western Australian community benefited from his enormous intellect, deep knowledge of the law, and extraordinary work ethic," he said.

Chief Justice Martin said Mr Malcolm was known as a "kind, patient and generous man" who was respected by the judiciary.

He said Mr Malcolm was a true leader who brought innovation to the court, informed the public about its processes and understood the need to keep up with changes in technology.

WA owed Mr Malcolm a great debt for his long and dedicated service to the community, Chief Justice Martin said.

The Law Society, where Mr Malcolm was a vice president in the 1980s, described him as a "giant" of the WA legal profession.

"He will be deeply missed by his many friends and colleagues in the society and the legal profession," they said in a statement.

Mr Malcolm famously told university students in 1997: "Take your work seriously, take any office you hold seriously, but don't make the mistake of taking yourself too seriously".

"Secondly, however difficult and challenging the office or the task, find a way to make it fun," he said.

"If it is not fun, it is not worth it."

One of Mr Malcolm's most high-profile decisions was in 2002 when he quashed the manslaughter conviction of John Button, who was wrongly jailed for killing his girlfriend Rosemary Anderson nearly 40 years earlier.