ABA pays tribute to lawyers who defended Chan & Sukumaran

Fri May 01 2015

Australian Bar Association President Fiona McLeod SC today endorsed the remarks of Victorian Bar President Jim Peters QC and New South Wales Bar Association President Jane Needham SC in paying tribute to the team of Indonesian and Australian lawyers who had worked so tirelessly, pro bono, over many years to prevent the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

The presidents paid special tribute to Julian McMahon (team leader), Michael O’Connell SC, Peter Morrissey SC, Tony Trood, Megan Tittensor and Scott Johns. Valuable assistance was given by solicitors Veronica Haccou, Alex Wilson, Joel Backwell, as well as the Hon Justice Lex Lasry of the Victorian Supreme Court. Important occasional assistance was given by many, but mention is made of Luke Howson (Vic Bar), Chris Ward (NSW Bar), Mark Taft SC (now Judge Taft of the Victorian County Court) and Mark Champion SC (now DPP). Solicitor Brad Holland provided much support with translations of Indonesian press developments.

In keeping with the finest traditions of the legal profession, the Indonesian lawyers staked their careers on a matter of principle by accepting the case. They include: Professor Todung Mulya Lubis, James Doly, Leonard Aritonang, Agata Yuvens, Ponti Azani, Inneke Kusumadewi.

"Their dedication to the clients and to the families of Chan and Sukumaran was at all times exemplary", said Ms Needham.

Ms McLeod praised the constant and respectful way the lawyers managed the case.

"Clemency in return for rehabilitation is a fundamental principle of justice according to law. Lawyers for Chan and Sukamaran presented ample evidence that both men were reformed during their time in Kerobokan Prison. No avenue of appeal was overlooked. In fact, the executions occurred with an appeal in the Constitutional Court still to be heard and important legal questions left unanswered", said Ms McLeod.

Legal professional bodies throughout Australia made repeated attempts to dissuade President Joko Widodo and the Indonesian Government from continuing with this ill-conceived program of cruel and un-necessary executions.

"The Australian Bar Association will continue to work towards the eradication of capital punishment in all its forms, in all jurisdictions, at all times", Ms McLeod concluded.

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