Independent chairs appointed to Forensic Science Queensland’s Interim Advisory Board

Published Monday, 23 January, 2023 at 03:02 PM

JOINT STATEMENT

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

Eminent retired judges Julie Dick SC and Walter Sofronoff KC will co-chair Forensic Science Queensland’s new interim advisory board.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said the appointment of two highly respected legal minds is yet another major step the Palaszczuk Government has taken toward reforming Queensland’s DNA and forensic services.

“Mr Sofronoff KC, who led the Commission of Inquiry into Forensic DNA Testing in Queensland, and Ms Dick SC’s appointments are part of our strong commitment to immediately establishing measures following the release of the Commission of Inquiry’s findings,” Minister D’Ath said.

“Work has already begun on long-term reforms and the appointment of Mr Sofronoff KC and Ms Dick SC to the interim advisory board will be critical to the delivery of forensic scientific services in Queensland.

“The interim advisory board will provide strong accountability, transparency, and governance oversight to support the establishment and operations of Forensic Science Queensland.

“Mr Sofronoff KC, who conducted the Commission of Inquiry into Forensic DNA Testing in Queensland, has an intimate understanding of the issues and the steps that need to be taken to restore integrity and transparency to Queensland’s forensic services.

“He has previously served as President of the Queensland Court of Appeal, Solicitor-General, President of the Bar Association, President of the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal and led two Commissions of Inquiry.

“Ms Dick SC has more than 50 years of service in law, including more than 20 years as a District Court judge, a former Childrens Court of Queensland President and Acting Supreme Court judge.

“During her career, Ms Dick SC appeared in nearly 50 murder trials and many other high-profile criminal matters.

“I have every confidence that Mr Sofronoff KC and Ms Dick SC are the right people to help restore confidence in forensic DNA services in Queensland and ensure they operate to the highest standard.”

Attorney General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said that the interim board, once fully appointed, would include a membership that represented a broad cross-section of criminal justice stakeholders, including relevant government agencies, legal and scientific professionals, and victim advocacy representatives.

“The interim board will report jointly to the Health Minister and myself and, along with several sub-committees tasked with advising discrete areas of forensic services, will provide expert oversight to Forensic Science Queensland,” Minister Fentiman said.

“Today’s announcement follows the appointment of Professor Linzi Wilson-Wilde OAM as interim CEO of Forensic Science Queensland.

“As we announced when the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations were handed down, the Palaszczuk Government is committed to taking immediate and long-term steps to reform DNA and forensic services.

“The appointment of Mr Sofronoff KC and Ms Dick SC demonstrates this and will ensure the right interim framework is in place as we continue our long-term work of establishing a Queensland forensic agency under the Justice and Attorney General portfolio.”

ENDS

Media Contact:

Minister D’Ath – Lucy Collier: 0409 461 324

Attorney General - Phoenix Campbell: 0439 949 719