Council mourns the loss of a valued member
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council has extended its condolences to the family, friends and community of Mr B Costello following his passing this week.
A valued member of the Council since June 2018, Mr Costello was instrumental in establishing the organisation’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel, of which he was the Chair.
Mr Costello’s contribution to the Sentencing Advisory Council’s work was important in assisting the Council to build a stronger understanding of the implications of sentencing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and better understand the drivers of the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Queensland’s criminal justice system.
His position as an Elder within the Cherbourg community, his experience as a secondary teacher and Principal, his involvement as Chair of the Barambah Justice Group at Cherbourg and as a local government councillor, and his understanding of the Murri Court, meant Mr Costello was uniquely placed to advise the Council and bring the views, voices and experiences of First Nations peoples to the table.
Mr Costello’s influence on the Council’s work extended across more than three years and more recently was seen in the research publication ‘Connecting the dots: the sentencing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Queensland’, in which he encouraged the inclusion of insights and reflections of members of the Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel, lending a personal context to the statistics and giving a greater understanding of why the report findings are significant.
He was also passionate about explaining in easy-to-understand language, sentencing terms and concepts, and regularly participated in and was active in the development and production of numerous videos that communicated complex legal information in plain English.
Mr Costello recognised through the Council an opportunity to promote and support broader sentencing commentary in Queensland. He took this role seriously, often participating in public discussions and media interviews across Queensland about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over-representation in the criminal justice system.
Mr Costello will be sadly missed by everyone at the Council.