Palaszczuk Government names members of reinstated Sentencing Advisory Council

Published Thursday, 10 November, 2016 at 05:26 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath has announced the members of the Sentencing Advisory Council reinstated by the Palaszczuk Government.

Mrs D’Ath said the ten appointees approved today by Executive Council bring a wide breadth of experience and expertise to the Council.

“It is vital that a properly functioning criminal justice system has the confidence of the public it serves,” said Mrs D’Ath.

“These eminent members will help promote an understanding and awareness of the sentencing process in our justice system.”

The ten appointees to the Sentencing Advisory Council are as follows:

  • Chairperson Mr James Morton has been a defence barrister for nearly two decades, practicing mostly in regional and rural areas of Queensland and the Northern Territory with indigenous clients; 
  • Deputy Chairperson Professor Elena Marchetti teaches and researches in fields including criminal law, indigenous people in the justice system and domestic and family violence; 
  • Mr John Allen QC is a public defender with Legal Aid Queensland and a barrister of 30 years’ experience. He was a member of the former Sentencing Advisory Council; 
  • Mr Michael Cowen QC is based in Townsville and has been a Crown Prosecutor for more than two decades. He is also an advocate within the Australia Defence Force court martial system; 
  • Ms Debbie Kilroy is a member of the Queensland Law Society’s Children’s Law Committee and Criminal Law Committee. As the first person with a criminal record to have been admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland, she brings a unique set of experiences to the SAC; 
  • Assistant Commissioner Tracey Linford leads the Queensland’ Police Service’s Intelligence, Terrorism and Major Events Command. She has more than 30 years’ policing experience in Victoria; 
  • Ms Kathleen Payne is a barrister with experience as both Crown Prosecutor and defence counsel. She has served on regional parole boards throughout Queensland; 
  • Mr Daniel Rogers is the Legal Director of Robertson O’Gorman Solicitors and has represented clients on sentencing matters before the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts; 
  • Mr Warren Strange has appeared before the Queensland Supreme Court for nearly three decades and has extensive experience representing victims of child sexual abuse; 
  • Mrs Helen Watkins is a psychologist specialising in forensic and clinical psychology who has developed a number of rehabilitation and prevention programs for prisoners and offenders.

Mrs D’Ath said the interest shown in membership of the Sentencing Advisory Council was a testament to the health of the Queensland justice system.

“The quality of applicants for this Council was exceptionally high, and the successful candidates bring extensive practical, academic and community-based experience.”

The Sentencing Advisory Council was first established in 2010, but was scrapped by the LNP Newman Government.

Its roles include:

  • informing the community about sentencing practices in Queensland;
  • conducting research and writing reports on sentencing issues;
  • engage with Queenslanders to gather their views on sentencing; and
  • advising the Queensland Government on sentencing matters and the Court of Appeal on guideline judgements. 

The council will meet on a monthly basis with the first meeting before the end of the year.

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