1992 – BA (University of Sydney)
1994 – LLB (University of Sydney)
1995 – Dip PLT (University of Technology Sydney); Admitted as a legal practitioner
1996 – Called to the bar
2011 – Appointed to Legal Aid’s Specialist Barrister Panel for Complex Criminal Law
2012 – Appointed to Legal Aid’s Specialist Barrister Panel for Criminal Appellate Matters
Specific Areas of Interest
The majority of my practice is criminal law. I won my first jury trial in 1999. I have advised and appeared as defence counsel in many homicide proceedings, including seven homicide trials without a leader. Three of those seven trials resulted in my clients being acquitted of all charges. I have appeared as defence counsel in District Court trial matters involving allegations of a wide range of criminal offences. I have appeared as defence counsel in criminal proceedings in the ACT and Western Australia. In the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal I have appeared in severity, interlocutory and conviction appeals.
Throughout my career I have appeared for clients from socially and economically disadvantaged families and communities. Early in my career I gained extensive experience in communicating with clients suffering from mental illness. From 1996 to 2002 I appeared many times as duty lawyer representing patients brought before the Mental Health Review Tribunal or Magistrate pursuant to the Mental Health Act. I have had a range of experience where children are involved in court proceedings. From 1996 until 2008 I appeared for many young persons facing criminal proceedings in the Children’s Court. From 1999 until 2007 I appeared for various parties to proceedings in the care and protection jurisdiction, including as separate representative for the subject children.
I have delivered continuing legal education seminar papers on Crown Duties of Fairness, Impartiality and Restraint in a Criminal Trial (2004), Defended Local Court Hearings (2004), Conduct of Sexual Assault Trials (2006), Interventionist Judges (2009), The Historical Development of Fundamental Features of a Fair Trial (2010), Recent Legislative Amendments in Criminal Law (2014), Childhood Adversity and Sentencing (2015), and Ethics Hypotheticals (2017). I have delivered lectures to law students on the law of evidence, criminal law practice, trial process, and search and seizure. In 1998 I designed and lectured in a course on public international law at the University of Newcastle. I have acted as a judge in moot court exercises for law students at the University of Newcastle and the University of Sydney.
My practice was based in Newcastle from 1996-2002. In 2002 I returned to Sydney and joined Sir Owen Dixon Chambers. In 2006 I contributed to the NSW Bar Association’s written submissions to Greg James QC’s Review of the New South Wales Forensic Mental Health Legislation (August 2007). From 2007-2009 I served on the NSW Bar Association’s Human Rights Committee. In 2011 I served on the NSW Bar Association’s Criminal Law and Legal Aid Committees.
I am interested in science-based solutions to causes of criminal behaviour, particularly trauma-informed systems, reducing childhood adversity and building resilience. Two feature films, Paper Tigers and Resilience, illustrate what can be achieved with science-based innovations. Non-profit screenings of both films can be arranged upon request.