A man called David Bertram Brooks, who was an alcoholic, was found sleeping in a public toilet block on George St and the police moved him on. He wandered down George St and came across the Supreme Court Building. The story of what then happened is almost unbelievable (by today's standards) but its aftermath and far-reaching effect were felt by the whole community:
"In the early hours of a cold Brisbane morning in 1968, David Bertram Brooks—a man 'sour on the world'—entered the unlocked front door of Queensland's historic Supreme Court.
Resentful of the police and the justice system for his frequent arrests, Brooks made his way to the judges' chambers and set the building alight. On his way out, he drove a knife into an associate's desk and scribbled the note 'judge not lest you be judged sinner'.
By the time the fire was brought under control, much of the building was in ruins. Many of the Supreme Court Library's books were seriously damaged by fire, smoke and water. Brooks was apprehended within three days of the fire, and convicted within three months of the crime. The motive for the fire was never properly established though Brooks himself is known to have said, "I've got to be punished, I wanted to do something big and wrong." Source: Supreme Court Library Queensland, sclqld.org.au/legalheritage