Recent appointments to the District Court

Kenneth Averre MBE

Troy Anderson SC

Sworn in on 17 November 2023, his Honour Judge Anderson SC was a Deputy Senior Public Defender. Having graduated from the University of Sydney, his Honour was admitted as a solicitor in 1996 and called to the Bar in 2007. His Honour practised in a variety of areas of law including civil litigation in aviation and maritime law. However, and notwithstanding the obvious exhilaration associated with the intricacies of the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976, his practice developed into one of exclusively criminal law. His clients have included some of Australia’s most notorious murderers, gang members and terrorists.

Well-known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the behemoth that is Commonwealth crime, his Honour smoothed the path for many a practitioner through his authorship of Commonwealth Criminal Law (available from all good booksellers so it is rumoured).

In the tradition of Public Defenders, he is also known for his passion for providing the best quality legal representation to those who can least afford it.

Christine Mendes

Another graduate of the University of Sydney, her Honour Judge Mendes was admitted as a solicitor in 1996. Having gone west to work for the Western Aboriginal Legal Service, she was called to the Bar in 2002. Her Honour had a significant criminal practice with all the ‘vicissitudes’ that come with practice in regional centres, appearing regularly in courts in Albury and Dubbo. She has a devoted following of young (and not-so-young) female lawyers in Albury and Griffith, arising from her extensive mentoring and support for practitioners in regional areas.

Her Honour’s depth of experience was recognised by her participation in ‘The Story Project: 40 years of the ALS’ in 2013, and the evidence she gave before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in December 2016.

Her Honour was appointed a Public Defender in 2020, based in Albury, and sworn in as judge of the District Court on 20 November 2023. Her Honour’s appointment sees her return to Sydney after a long absence.

Grant Brady SC

As a graduate of the Australian National University, Judge Brady SC was admitted as a legal practitioner in 1990 and admitted to the NSW Bar in 2000. Judge Brady SC came to the Bar from Forbes Chambers with significant experience in all areas of the criminal law. He was known in chambers for his work ethic, inclusivity and energy, and ability to quote Blackadder verbatim and in context.

His Honour also coached advocacy for some 20 years in Australia and overseas and was a fierce advocate for the Australian Advocacy Institute as well as being its Deputy Chair and a tireless instructor on their courses. In an interview with the Lawyers Weekly, a solicitor advocate said, ‘I watched barrister Grant Brady SC undertake his appeal before mine. It was like he was strolling through the park as he eloquently steered the court with his advocacy. It was a lot of pressure to have to appear after someone of Mr Brady’s calibre.’

David Barrow SC

Also a graduate of the Australian National University and from Forbes Chambers, Judge Barrow SC was the last of the recent appointments and was sworn in on 12 February 2024, mere months after his appointment as senior counsel. His Honour was admitted to practice in 1988 and worked with Legal Aid NSW in various capacities before being called to the Bar in 2009 and appearing in criminal proceedings, both in New South Wales and the ACT. His practice revealed a keen concern for the plight of less fortunate accused and appellants, and he maintained a strong Legal Aid practice.

His Honour appeared as counsel assisting in commissions of inquiry and inquests and was renowned for his appellate work, both in the Court of Criminal Appeal and the High Court. In case this all appears very cerebral, his Honour is equally renowned for his cycling, swimming, and dedication to fitness. The bike rack he installed in his chambers has not been removed out of reverence to his athleticism.

Miiko Kumar

Being pipped to the post by Judge Mendes on the appointment front by a matter of days, Judge Kumar also graduated from the University of Sydney. Her Honour was admitted as a legal practitioner in 1998 and, after a varied career in the law, was called to the Bar in 2001. At the Bar the variety continued through her Honour’s areas of practice, work in academia, and involvement in various committees. She has written extensively on media, evidence, and civil procedure law.

Prior to her appointment to the District Court, Judge Kumar was a Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor for Sydney West. She comes to the court with extensive experience in criminal law, having appeared in trials and in the Court of Criminal Appeal and the High Court.

Kenneth Averre MBE

Forbes Chambers