The Hon. Danna Vale, MP
Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

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30 Jun 2003
31/03
  VA

FIRST AUSTRALIAN DIRECTOR OF MILITARY PROSECUTIONS

Defence personnel will benefit from a more streamlined and independent military justice system with the appointment of a Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP), the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, Danna Vale, said today.

Mrs Vale announced Colonel Gary Hevey, a Melbourne barrister and Legal Officer in the Army Reserve, would take up the position of Australia’s first DMP on 1 July.

"The appointment of an independent senior legal officer with significant civilian criminal and military legal experience delivers on a principle recommendation of the Burchett Report into Military Justice," Mrs Vale said.

"I have directed Defence to expedite the development of the necessary legislation required to establish this position as a statutory appointment providing independent prosecutorial decision-making similar to that of Commonwealth, State and Territory Directors of Public Prosecution.

"Once the legislation is amended, the DMP will decide whether or not serious matters arising under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 will be prosecuted; decide which matters should be referred to Courts Martial or Defence Force Magistrates for trial, and prosecute those cases."

In the interim, the DMP will provide independent legal advice to commanders to assist them in determining how to proceed with serious charges (prescribed offences) under the Act. The interim DMP will also provide independent pre-trial advice to convening authorities for all Courts Martial and trials by the Defence Force Magistrates, and will conduct those prosecutions of ADF personnel at Courts Martial and trials by Defence Force Magistrates.

Service police will retain responsibility for the initial investigation of alleged offences and commanding officers will remain responsible for disciplining members at the summary level, and for referring charges to the DMP.

"The Australian Defence Force’s chain of command will remain a vital component of Defence discipline," Mrs Vale said.

"Colonel Hevey’s appointment will enhance the independence and transparency of disciplinary procedures, which adds to the confidence of all ADF personnel that they will be dealt with fairly and as quickly as possible by ADF military justice."

Media Contact: Rachael Thompson 02 6277 7820 or 0417 265 289

A biography of Col Hevey and a fact sheet on the role of the DMP areis attached. Col Hevey is available for interview by contacting Raveena Carroll from Defence Media Liaison on (02) 6265 1263 or 0405 310 176.

GARY B. HEVEY R.F.D., LL.M. - Barrister

Gary was born in Melbourne on 30 March, 1953.

He graduated LL.B.(Hons) from the University of Melbourne in 1976. During his time at Melbourne he was President of the Law Students’ Society (1974-1975). In 1978 he returned part time to the University and was admitted to the LL.M. degree in 1981.

Gary was admitted to practice in March 1977 then admitted to the High Court that same month. He was since admitted to practice in South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Between 1977 and 1982, Gary served in the Australian Regular Army as a Legal Officer. He was promoted to Major in June 1978 and was the Acting Chief Legal Officer for Victoria in 1979 and 1980.

In 1981 he was Chief Military Legal Officer for South Australia.

In Victoria, Gary was involved in prosecuting and defending at Courts Martial, Boards of Inquiry, Operational Law and advice to Commanders on a number of wide ranging issues. In 1981 he was awarded a District Commander’s Commendation for exemplary performance.

At the end of 1982 Gary left the Regular Army. He has remained active in the Army Reserve since that time, being awarded the Reserve Force Decoration in 1994. He was appointed as a Judge Advocate and a Defence Force Magistrate in October 2000. He currently holds the rank of Colonel.

Gary was admitted to practice in South Australia in February 1983 and was appointed an Assistant Crown Prosecutor in South Australia. He worked with the office of the Crown Prosecutors until April 1985.

As a prosecutor Gary was involved in a number of serious cases including rape, serious assaults, robberies and other matters. Most prosecutions were heard before the District and Supreme Courts in South Australia. Gary also spent twelve months as Junior Counsel for the Crown in the Royal Commission into the conviction of Edward Charles Splatt for the murder of Emilia Simper.

In April, 1985 Gary signed the independent Bar Roll in South Australia. He practised at the South Australian Bar until the end of 2001.

At the beginning of 2002, Gary accepted a position as In-House Counsel for Foster Hart Lawyers in Melbourne for twelve months. His work there involved commercial litigation including taking instructions and managing matters through to trial. He appeared as counsel on behalf of the firm.

Gary signed the Bar Roll in Melbourne at the end of 2002.

The main areas in which Gary has practised are:

Criminal matters: Gary continued to receive briefs from the State Crown and also on behalf of the Commonwealth DPP. He acted for numerous defendants including allegations of murder, rape, serious assaults, drug manufacturing and distribution, burglary and other property related offences.

Administrative matters: Gary appeared before the Board of Inquiry into the crash of two Blackhawk Helicopters near Townsville in June 1996. He represented the Commanding Officer of 5 Aviation Regiment.

Gary also appeared before the AAT on behalf of Whyalla Airlines after one of its aircraft had crashed into the Spencer Gulf, resulting in the death of eight persons on board.

Professional Negligence: Gary acted for plaintiffs and defendants in many cases alleging medical negligence. He also acted on behalf of lawyers, dentists, chiropractors and physiotherapists in relations to claims made against them.

Commercial: Gary has appeared in many complex contractual and corporate cases. He has led and juniored in cases involving corporate restructure, leases and their interpretation, sales and purchases of commercial properties, franchises and employment disputes.

Personal injuries and workers compensation: including aviation, asbestos and motor vehicle, occupiers’ liability and product liability cases.

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