Reprieve Australia stands for a world without the death penalty. We work with our volunteers, interns, and board to develop legal and policy solutions that will help save lives.
What we do
Reprieve Australia arranges for volunteer lawyers and interns to provide legal and humanitarian assistance to activists, lawyers, and prisoners in the USA, SE Asia, and potentially elsewhere in 2018. Here at home we campaign and conduct research to raise awareness of issues concerning the death penalty and ensure our local and international partners are equipped with the best support and the latest information.
Reprieve Australia is a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN).
Reprieve Australia was founded in Melbourne, Australia, in 2001 by criminal barristers Richard Bourke and Nick Harrington to provide legal representation and humanitarian assistance to those at risk of execution. Initially, our task was to provide volunteer assistance to programs in the US and we have since expanded to Asia.
More than 100 interns have worked with our capital defense partners in the United States. We have sent interns to Louisiana, Texas, North Carolina, and Florida.
Our research into this process known as ‘blackstriking’ is quantifying racism in jury selection across America. In Louisiana, for example, prosecutors are up to five times as likely to stop African-Americans serving on juries.
South East Asia
In 2012 Reprieve Australia joined Amnesty International’s Anti-Death Penalty Asian Network (ADPAN) and began to forge relationships with related organisations within Asia. We have since been developing programs to assist local lawyers in the region.
Julian McMahon AC - President
Julian McMahon is a barrister in Melbourne, working in criminal law. Typically his cases are in homicide and terrorist matters. In 2002, he was briefed in the matter of Van Tuong Nguyen, a young Australian arrested in Singapore carrying heroin from Vietnam to Australia. Van was executed in 2005. Since that case Julian has been working on death penalty cases and related issues. He has had death row clients in numerous countries, some executed, some not. He was part of the team who defended Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, executed in Indonesia on 29 April 2015. In 2015 Julian became President of Reprieve Australia, and in 2016 was awarded Victorian Australian of the Year.
Sara Kowal - Vice President
Sara is the Clinical Supervisor of the Monash University Anti-Death Penalty Clinic, where law students undertake research and analysis of current death penalty cases, assisting legal teams and human rights advocates in numerous jurisdictions which execute. This Clinic is run in partnership with Reprieve Australia.
Having been admitted to practice as a solicitor in Victoria in early 2004, Sara has practised exclusively in criminal law since that time. She is a Senior Associate at Galbally Rolfe Barristers and Solicitors and has extensive experience in the defence of complex prosecutions including major drug matters, large frauds, homicides, violence and sexual assaults. Sara is a Member of the Criminal Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria and the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association. She has completed a Masters in Public Policy and Management (University of Melbourne).
Sara has a strong sense of social justice and as a long time opponent of capital punishment, she brings her passion and skills to her work on the Board of Reprieve.
Annie Allen - Secretary
Kevin Jones - Treasurer
Kevin Jones is a Melbourne based commercial barrister with accounting qualifications and a deep experience in taxation.
Matthew is a trial advocate, he has established a professional interest in matters concerning crime scene reconstruction, DNA analysis, expert medical opinion, sexual allegations, drug importation and trafficking. He held the position of in-house counsel at Robert Stary Lawyers. In that role he appeared for the accused in many complex criminal trials. He is the former president of Reprieve Australia.
Sally is a lawyer at Justice Connect Homeless Law where she is the in-house lawyer for the Women’s Homelessness Prevention Project, an outreach clinic combining legal representation and social work support for women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
In 2013, she represented Reprieve Australia as a volunteer at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center in New Orleans, providing litigation support to lawyers representing clients facing the death penalty. She has remained involved with Reprieve Australia since that time and in 2016 became the coordinator of the U.S. Volunteer Program.
Libby is a senior criminal defence lawyer with nearly 10 years practising experience. Libby is a senior lawyer with Victoria Legal Aid and has been responsible for a variety of criminal law matters with a particular focus on restorative and therapeutic justice. Libby is currently working as a Senior Policy and Projects Officer for Victoria Legal Aid and is enjoying contributing to law reform and policy issues in the criminal justice system. Libby has spent over 5 years working with Aboriginal communities in Central Australia and has a particular interest in social justice and advocating for those from marginalised backgrounds. She has also spent time in Cambodia and Christmas Island working in this field.
Jacinta Smith works as a insurance litigation lawyer. She is currently employed as a Senior Solicitor for the NSW Crown Solicitor's Office in their Torts Group where she conducts litigation on behalf of various NSW government agencies. Having worked for many years within busy litigation practices providing advice to government and institutional clients, Jacinta has a thorough understanding of civil litigation - particularly insurance law - and understands the importance of good governance within organisations.
Daniel Webb is the Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Legal Advocacy. He leads much of the centre’s work defending the rights of people seeking asylum and people in all forms of detention. Daniel’s recent work includes High Court challenges to the Australian Government’s offshore detention regime (Plaintiff M68) and its secretive detention of 157 people at sea beneath the deck of an Australian customs ship (CPCF), as well as the #LetThemStay campaign run in partnership with GetUp! and the Australian Churches for Refugees Taskforce.
Prior to joining the HRLC Daniel was a senior lawyer with Victoria Legal Aid, specialising in mental health and disability advocacy, and for 12 months was The People’s Lawyer in the Republic of Kiribati. His NGO experience includes internships with the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights in Phnom Penh and Transparency International in Port Moresby, PNG. Daniel has also worked at the Yamatji Land and Sea Council and Pilbara Native Title Service, and is on the Policy Committee of Liberty Victoria. In 2010 Daniel was awarded an LIV President’s Award for his outstanding work for human rights and social justice.
Enquiries about joining the board can be made confidentially to firstname.lastname@example.org