The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council provides independent research and advice, seeks public views and promotes community understanding of sentencing matters.
The council’s role is to:
- inform the community about sentencing in Queensland through research and education
- engage with Queenslanders to gather their views on sentencing
- advise on sentencing matters.
The council comprises up to 12 independent members, appointed by the Governor in Council on recommendation by the Attorney-General. Members apply for their positions through an open-merit based process and are appointed for 3 years.
Members include legal experts and community advocates with extensive experience in criminal law, domestic and family violence, victims of crime, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice issues and youth justice.
The members of the current council are:
Professor Elena Marchetti (Acting chair)
Elena is a Professor of Law at Griffith University, where she researches in the areas of criminal law, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the justice system and domestic and family violence (DFV). Elena has received two large Australian Research Council Fellowship grants to conduct research into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples sentencing courts and partner violence, and more appropriate ways to evaluate Indigenous-focused criminal justice processes. She is a peer assessor for Australia's National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety and is on the editorial board of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology.
John Allen QC
John is the public defender with Legal Aid Queensland where he regularly advises on the merit of appeals against sentence. Previously, he spent more than 20 years in private practice, mainly in criminal law, working with clients being sentenced and appealing against sentences in the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014. John was on the previous Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council.
Michael Cowen QC
Michael is based in Townsville and has been a crown prosecutor for the past 20 years. His areas of interest include homicide, youth crime and rehabilitation, remote communities and DFV. He has extensive experience dealing with victims and defendants who have mental health issues and/or drug addiction. Michael has also worked with victims of sexual abuse and violence. Much of Michael’s work has been in relation to the criminal justice system in remote communities. He is a Judge-Advocate and Defence Force Magistrate within the Australia Defence Force Court Martial disciplinary system. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014.
Debbie Kilroy OAM
Debbie is one of the founders and CEO of Sisters Inside, which advocates for the human rights of women and girls in the criminal justice system. Debbie is the first person with a criminal record to have been admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland. She is currently principal criminal defence lawyer with Kilroy & Callaghan Lawyers and was a social worker prior to entering the legal profession. Debbie has won many awards in recognition of her commitment to crime prevention and work with women and girl prisoners (and their children), including an Order of Australia Medal.
Tracy Linford APM
Tracy is Assistant Commissioner in the Queensland Police Service leading the intelligence, counter-terrorism and major events command. Previously she was the Assistant Commissioner at Victoria Police providing expert intelligence and covert services. As a detective, she has more than 30 years’ experience in investigations, intelligence and countering serious organised crime. In Victoria, she worked on the formation and implementation of the Major Crime Management Model, which was brought about following a series of gangland murders. Tracy was awarded an Australian Police Medal in the Australia Day Honours in 2014.
Kathleen is a defence barrister specialising in criminal law, domestic and family violence, and institutional child sexual and other abuse. She has wide-ranging experience as a crown prosecutor in the UK and Australia. Kathleen has had extensive involvement in issues relating to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, focusing on working with religious institutions. Recently, Kathleen has been a member of the Central and Northern Queensland, and Southern Queensland Regional Parole Boards. Kathleen gained a Master of Philosophy (Criminology) at Cambridge University, UK. The focus of her thesis was mandatory sentencing.
Dan is a legal director of private criminal firm Robertson O’Gorman. He is a Queensland Law Society accredited criminal law specialist and represents clients as a solicitor-advocate in all court levels across Queensland. He is published in various legal texts and journals on criminal law. For the past decade, Dan has been voluntary secretary of the Caxton Community Legal Centre, an organisation that supports vulnerable people facing the criminal justice system. Dan is a member of the Queensland Law Society Ethics Committee and the current chair of the Queensland Law Society Human Rights Working Group.
Warren is the Executive Officer of knowmore—a national community legal service assisting people engaging with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Over one fifth of knowmore’s clients identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In this and other previous roles, including as the Director of Criminal Law at Legal Aid Queensland from 2004 to 2010, Warren has considerable experience working with vulnerable and disadvantaged client groups, including youth and homeless people. Prior to joining knowmore Warren was the Assistant Commissioner, Misconduct at the Crime and Misconduct Commission (as it was then known).
Helen is a psychologist specialising in forensic and clinical assessment and treatment, and a member of the Queensland Regional Parole Board. She was previously a member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal for 9 years. Helen operates a private practice offering psychological services in Australia and internationally. Helen previously worked as a psychologist in high security correctional centres in South East Queensland where she conducted specialist risk assessment and treatment of offenders in custody.
The council is supported by a small secretariat administered by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
The secretariat carries out the council’s policy analysis and day-to-day work including administrative support, community engagement and education, and research and statistical analysis.
The council reports to the Attorney-General. To maintain its independence the council has the ability to develop its own work plan and is required to report annually to the Attorney-General, including about:
- performance of the council’s functions, in particular about the provision of information to the community to enhance knowledge and understanding of matters related to sentencing
- work to be undertaken by the council in the future in the performance of the council’s functions.