Capital Punishment Justice Project is managed by a Board of Directors.
Advisor – Julian McMahon AC SC
Julian McMahon is a barrister in Melbourne working in criminal law. He has been President of CPJP since 2015. In 2002, he was briefed on 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, in addition to being a local barrister, 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 the 29th of April 2015.
Vice President – Sara Kowal
Sara has practiced exclusively in criminal law since 2004 and has extensive experience in the defence of complex prosecutions including major drug matters, large frauds, homicides, violence and sexual assaults.
Sara is the Vice-President of the Capital Punishment Justice Project having joined the team in 2016. Drawing on her extensive legal experience and knowledge gained through obtaining her Masters of Public Policy and Management, she brings both passion and skill to her work with CPJP.
In 2018, Sara was appointed to establish the Anti-Death Penalty Clinic at Monash University, the first stage of Eleos Justice. The Clinic has now established partnerships with a number of NGOs and lawyers across Asia who provide casework, research and advocacy briefs for law students to undertake under careful guidance and supervision.
In November 2019, Sara joined the Executive of the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) on behalf of CPJP. ADPAN has 90 members comprised of anti-death penalty advocates and organisation accross 22 countries within the Asian region. She also sits on three country specific working groups of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and is a founding member of the Foreign Nationals Network, a partnership between academics and NGOs aimed at assisting NGOs to support foreign nationals facing the risk of the death penalty.
Secretary – Jacinta Smith
Jacinta Smith has recently joined law firm Minter Ellison as a Senior Associate. She was previously a Senior Associate at McCabe Curwood (Sydney) in the Government Health Team. Jacinta has principally worked in medical negligence, acting on behalf of clients in both private health and public health settings. In this capacity she has experience in complex coronial inquests representing the interests of individual medical practitioners, local health districts, as well as multiple government agencies.
Public Officer – Kevin Jones
Kevin is a Melbourne based commercial barrister with accounting qualifications and deep experience in taxation. Kevin was appointed to the position of Treasurer of CPJP in May 2018, and is now the Public Officer of the company limited by guarantee.
Chair, Stephen Keim SC
Stephen works as a barrister from chambers in Brisbane and Hobart, and has a broad practice with a special focus on administrative law, criminal law, planning and environmental law and appeals. He has appeared in a range of courts and tribunals including the High Court, where he was one of the 10 most frequently appearing barristers in 2019.
Stephen’s commitment to advocating for the abolition of the death penalty and to promoting and protecting human rights more generally was recently recognised when he was awarded the 2020 President’s Award by the Law Council of Australia. Stephen was also awarded the 2009 Human Rights Medal by the Australian Human Rights Commission for his bold and challenging work on Dr Mohamed Haneef’s case.
From his childhood growing up with nine siblings and parents who cared about the less fortunate, Stephen has always had an abomination for the death penalty and a love of progressive causes.
This is also reflected in Stephen’s patronage of two Brisbane anti-death penalty organisations, Australians Against Capital Punishment and the Julian Wagner Memorial Fund; and in his active involvement as a member of the Criminal Law Committee of the Bar Association of Queensland and the Human Rights Committee of the Law Council of Australia.
Stephen has previously been President of the Legal Aid Commission of Queensland and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights. Stephen was active in, and for a time, President of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties where he was privileged to work with Derek Fielding, Terry O’Gorman, Beryl and John Holmes, Matthew Foley and Janet Irwin.
Annie is a working criminal lawyer at Victoria Legal Aid. Prior to joining Victoria legal aid, and she worked as a Judge’s associate at the federal court of Australia in Melbourne, and earlier as a lawyer in a commercial law firm. As a commercial lawyer, Annie practised in both commercial litigation in corporate transactions and assisted in advising clients on corporate governance compliance and ASIC reporting, due diligence in corporate transactions, and issues relating to company constitutions arising in business acquisitions. Annie has previously worked in voluntary roles for various not for profit organisations including Hagar Australia, Jesuit social services and Australian indigenous mentoring experience.
Matthew is a member of the Victorian Bar. He was a co-founder of the Mercy Campaign, a movement to support the clemency applications made by Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Matthew was the President of CPJP (then Reprieve Australia) from 2011 until 2015 and is currently a delegate to the Steering Committee on World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
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 for support for women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. In 2013, she represented CPJP as a volunteer at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Centre in New Orleans, providing litigation support to lawyers representing clients facing the death penalty. She has remained involved with CPJP since that time and in 2016 became the coordinator of the Volunteer Program.