Justice Lex Lasry to deliver Fourth Tony Fitzgerald Lecture

CLANT is delighted to announce that on 23 June 2016 Hon Justice at 5.30 pm Lex Lasry AM QC of the Supreme Court of Victoria will deliver the Fourth Tony Fitzgerald memorial Lecture at the Northern Territory Library, Darwin.  Mark your diaries.

Lex Lasry was admitted to practise law in Victoria in 1973 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1990. He acted as a junior counsel before the Costigan Royal Commission, counsel with the National Crime Authority, and was the Royal Commissioner for the Inquiry into the Victorian Metropolitan Ambulance Service. Between 2003 and 2006 Lasry acted as senior counsel assisting the Coronial inquiry into the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

Lasry was the former chair of the Victorian Criminal Bar Association, and in August 2004 was appointed the independent observer representing the Law Council of Australia at the trial of Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks. He attended Military Commission hearings at Guantanamo Bay in August 2004 and March 2007.

As a senior partner with Slater & Gordon, Lasry acted as defence counsel in several high-profile criminal cases in Australia and overseas, including Joseph Thomas in a high-profile Australian terror trial (see R v Thomas [2006] VSCA 165). Lasry represented Van Tuong Nguyen in the high-profile case in which Van Nguyen was convicted of drug trafficking in Singapore in 2002 and executed in December 2005. In 2007 Lasry was awarded the Law Council of Australia's inaugural Presidents Medal for his pro bono representation of Van Nguyen in 2005, and for his outstanding work as Independent Legal Observer for Hicks in 2004 and 2005. He also took up the case of two members of "the Bali nine", Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who were executed in April 2015. He has been a longstanding opponent of the use of the death penalty, arguing "when the state kills a citizen, no matter what they have done, the community is diminished by the killing.” In reference to the Bali Nine, Lasry stated "The idea that the government would take individuals out into the bush and shoot them is something I can never live with... and from a legal viewpoint, it has no deterrent value." In accordance with that stand, Lasry declined to attend the CLANT Bali conference in June 2015.

Lasry was appointed a justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria on 23 October 2007. He was the trial judge for the murder trial against Hugo Alastair Rich and the re-trial of Robert Farquharson.

He has chaired appellate hearings for the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS), holds a motor racing licence, is the drummer for the band The Lex Pistols, is a longtime supporter of the St Kilda Football Club, and has served on the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Law at Monash University.





Local Court reforms commence

On 1 May 2016, the Local Court Act 2015 and associated legislation commenced.  This substantial and significant statutory package simplifies, consolidates and reforms summary criminal practice and procedure in the Northern Territory.  The Department of Attorney-General and Justice has produced this practitioner's guide.

Michael Grant CJ

CLANT offers our hearty congratulations to Northern Territory Solicitor-General Michael Grant QC on his appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory.

Riley CJ farewell dinner: save the date

Riley CJ 

Save the Date

The Judges and Master of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory wish to advise that a farewell dinner will be held on 16 April 2016 in the Supreme Court Foyer to mark the retirement of the Honourable Chief Justice Trevor Riley. 

Further details including costs will be provided in due course.  Would you please register your interest in attending by contacting Liz Hochman on 08 8999 6472 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Happy New Patron!

CLANT is delighted to celebrate the New Year by announcing that that our new Patron is the Hon Justice Dean Mildren AC RFD QC.  Justice Mildren, a Life Member of CLANT, has been an indefatigable and unparalleled contributor to the affairs of the Association, not least by way of the extraordinarily varied papers he has presented at the Bali Conference, including:

Justice Mildren is currently an Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, and as such, despite his nominal retirement in 2013, he continues to play a leading role in the  administration of criminal justice in the Northern Territory. He is frequently in Darwin, and also travels on circuit to Alice Springs, so CLANT members have plenty of opportunities to catch up with him. 

Justice Mildren replaces the Hon Justice Virginia Bell AC, a judge of the High Court of Australia, as our Patron.  CLANT thanks Justice Bell for her support and service to the Association, not only over the handful of years since becoming our Patron, but also over a much longer period, through her strong professional and personal connections with many of our members. Justice Bell has been and remains an exemplar, and an inspiration, to us.


And the winners are... the 2015 Fitzgeralds!

CLANT congratulates the winners, those who were highly commended, and all nominees for "The Fitzgeralds", the 2015 Northern Territory Human Rights Awards, as reported here.

Special thanks to this year's judging panel, Justice Blokland (CLANT Life Member), Sally Sievers (NT Anti-Discrimination Commissioner) and Chips Mackinolty (CLANT Artist in Residence).

For the record, the winners are:

  • Youth Award - Joint winners Shahleena Musk and Stronger Sisters
  • Justice Award - Joint winners Police Caution – Aboriginal Interpreter Service and Larrakia Nation Night Patrol
  • Social Change Award - Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network
  • Diversity Award - Joint Winners: Football Without Borders and Somerville Community Services

CLANT is proud to be a sponsor and supporter of the Fitzgeralds.


Domestic and Family Violence Proposals Issues Paper Submission

On 25 November 2015, White Ribbon Day, CLANT provided this submission in response to the Northern Territory government's Domestic and Family Violence Proposals Issues Paper.

The Fitzgeralds: NT Human Rights Awards 10 December 2015

Invitation Human Rights Awards

NTWLA Xmas Drinks


Paperless arrests are valid, but wait, there's a catch (and a release)

On 11 November 2015, in North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency Limited v Northern Territory [2015] HCA 41, the High Court (French CJ, Kiefel and Bell JJ; Gageler J (diss.); Keane J; Nettle and Gordon JJ) ruled that Division 4AA of Pt VII of the Police Administration Act (NT), which confers on police the power to make "paperless arrests", is valid.  However, the plurality also held that although police are lawfully empowered to arrest persons for infringement notice offences, it does not necessarily follow that such persons may then be lawfully detained for four hours.  As Nettle and Gordon JJ held (at [231]), subject to s 133AB(2)(b) (which provides that an intoxicated person may be detained until they've sobered up):

...any detention of the person for longer than required to render it practicable so to release the person or take the person before a justice or court would be unlawful (even if it were within the four hour period specified in s 133AB(2)(a)) and so would be actionable at the suit of the person for damages for false imprisonment.

A statement to similar effect is found in the judgment of French CJ, Kiefel and Bell JJ at [36].

For further recommended reading, see Martin Clark's handy summary of the judgments and issues on the High Court blog, Opinions on High; and an acutely observed "wider perspective" of the decision by Charles Darwin University academic Ken Parish.

Ten reasons why Daniel's Law is bad for victims

CLANT has opposed "Daniels Law" since it was first proposed by the Northern Territory government in October 2014.  On 12 November 2015, CLANT released pdfthis statement, and has written to the Government, the Opposition and the Independent Members of the Legislative Assembly, urging them not to support this harmful and ineffective Bill.

Too much too young: raise the age of criminal responsibility

This Children's Week, CLANT supports the national call to action initiated by Jesuit Social Services to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12, in accordance both with the standards prescribed by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, and current developments in child psychology and neuroscience. 

CLANT has co-signed this letter to all Australian Attorneys-General.  For further details, read this Report published in conjunction with the campaign, "Too Much Too Young".

CLANT AGM and dinner: 6 November 2015

CLANT members are hereby notified that in accordance with Clause 38 of the CLANT Inc. Constitution, the 2015 Annual General Meeting will be held at 5 pm on 6 November 2015 at the offices of the North Australia Aboriginal Justice Agency, 61 Smith Street, Darwin, NT.  The particulars and order of business will be

  1. Attendance and Apologies
  2. Confirmation of minutes of AGM 19 November 2014
  3. Presentation of audited statement of accounts and auditor’s report for 2014/15
  4. Committee report of the Association’s activities for 2014/15
  5. Election of Life Member: Richard Coates
  6. Election of Honorary Life Member: Lyn Wild
  7. Election of 2015-2017 Committee

The audited statement of accounts is available for inspection by members pdfhere.

Persons whose membership has expired may renew their membership by paying $20 at the door. Members may tender apologies in writing to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and members who do not attend may in writing appoint another member as their proxy to vote on their behalf at the meeting, using this Proxy Form.

Nominations for the 2015-2017 Committee are invited, by way of submission to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. using this Nomination Form.

The AGM will be followed by a dinner at 7 pm MANOLI'S TAVERN, at which the proposed new Life Member, Richard Coates, will speak.

Members: $40  Non-members: $55  BYO drinks  Non-members/partners welcome

RSVP to either Sophie Parsons (NAAJA) or Catherine Voumard (Maley & Burrows) by 29 October 2015.

Catherine Voumard


Copyright © 2012-2016 Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory | Website by TropicsNet