Vale Justice John Nader RFD KC – Vale Chief Justice Brian Frank Martin AO MBE KC

Vale Justice John Nader RFD KC – Vale Chief Justice Brian Frank Martin AO MBE KC

It is with great sadness that CLANT marks the passing of CLANT life member former Justice John Nader and former Chief Justice Brian F Martin.

Justice John Nader

While CLANT remembers Justice Nader for his outstanding contribution to the Association, he had an expansive and inimitable career. Justice Nader was a Crown Prosecutor in NSW, appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1981 and appointed to the Supreme Court of the NT in 1982. Serving for 10 years as a judge of the Supreme Court of the NT, following a lengthy practice as a silk in NSW, he was perhaps best known for the cases of Pregelj & Wurramurra v Manison (1987) 51 NTR 1, and Chamberlain (1988) 38 NTLR 82, for the sheer power of his intellect, and incisive analysis.


He served as Chairman of the Criminal Code Review Committee from 1990 to 1991 (a body he advocated for), Acting Judge of the District Court of NSW and President of the NSW Legal Professional Conduct Tribunal and Innocence Commission. Nader was engaged by the CDPP to prosecute alleged Nazi war criminal Heinrich Wagner, who was charged with murdering more than 100 Jews in Ukraine in 1942/3.  Nader was successful in getting Wagner committed for trial, but soon afterwards Wagner suffered a heart attack and the matter never proceeded to trial, due to the ill-health of the accused.  Nader later took it upon himself to write and publish Tardy Justice, a book documenting the allegations against Wagner in detail, both “to demonstrate the truth of the old maxim that justice delayed is justice denied”, and as a way of memorialising Wagner’s alleged victims.


Justice Nader was recognised for his outstanding contribution to CLANT through his election as a life member. He was a speaker at the inaugural CLANT Bali Conference in 1987 where he presented on the Court of Criminal Appeal of the NT. He was a stalwart of the CLANT Bali conference until 2015, when the Committee was agonising over whether to continuing holding the conference in Bali in the shadow of the imminent executions of Chan and Sukumaran. Nader wrote to the President stating, “I would not in conscience be able to attend a legal conference in Indonesia while capital punishment remains in use there”.  True to his word, he did not attend the Bali conference again. He was fearless in his advocacy, including of the criminal justice system in the NT.


He is fondly remembered by CLANT for his geniality, vigour and forthrightness, both as advocate and as a friend.


Chief Justice Brian F Martin


Like so many CLANT members, Chief Justice B F Martin arrived in the NT as a young lawyer seeking experience, arriving in Alice Springs from Sydney in 1963. Following over 40 years contributing to the legal profession in the Northern Territory, Martin remained in the NT for the rest of his life.


After working as a solicitor in Alice Springs for many years, Martin served as Mayor of the Alice Springs Town Council. He was appointed as NT Solicitor-General and Secretary of the Department of Law in 1981, Queen’s Counsel and Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1982, and an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1989. He served as Chief Justice, Chairman of the Parole Board, and acting Administrator from 1993 to 2003. Following his retirement he served as an Acting Judge from 2004 to 2009.


He was a strong defender of the independence of the judiciary, the need to maintain the separation of powers and a fervent supporter of the independent Bar.


The motion to establish CLANT was seconded by Martin and his support continued throughout the years. Martin attended many CLANT Bali conferences, presenting on a number of occasions.  For his contributions to and support of CLANT, Martin was awarded the “Golden Dingo” at the Port Douglas CLANT Conference in 2003.


Upon his retirement from the Bench in 2003 it was remarked that he would leave the Northern Territory better off, and CLANT is certain that is true. Chief Justice Martin will be remembered for his fairness, firmness and compassion on the Bench and for his enormous contributions to the NT community and to the justice system.