Tipple, one of the longest-serving members of the defence team of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain during inquiries into the death of their daughter Azaria, was recognised for his work, which led to improved forensic-testing practice in NSW.
Nine-week-old Azaria Chamberlain disappeared from Uluru in 1980; a court ruled earlier this year that a dingo was responsible for her death.
Law Society president Justin Dowd (pictured) presented the medal to Tipple at the Society’s annual members’ dinner at Sydney Opera House.
“Stuart has made a significant contribution not only to the local community but also to the legal profession and the administration of justice in Australia and indeed the world,” said Dowd.
“His work and dedication has helped to ensure best practice in the NSW criminal justice system by identifying deficiencies and bringing about change in forensic testing and procedures.”
The President’s Medal is awarded annually in recognition of significant personal and professional contributions made for the betterment of law and justice by an NSW solicitor who is also a member of the Law Society of NSW.
While representing the Chamberlain family, Tipple alerted authorities to inadequacies in forensic testing in criminal cases that prevented independent assessment and failed to comply with best practice.
In response to his submissions, the Northern Territory government also moved to amend its criminal code to allow its Criminal Court of Appeal to consider fresh evidence and quash convictions, enabling wrongly-convicted persons to gain acquittal rather than a pardon.
Tipple has practised law in NSW since 1978. He was also recognised last night for his active involvement in his local community, especially with the Central Coast Adventists’ School Board and the Sydney Adventist Hospital.
For more than 30 years, Tipple has provided pro bono services to widows and their families and the Salvation Army, as well as serving on various advisory committees and boards.
The guest speaker at last night’s black-tie event was Jennifer Robinson, an Australian human rights lawyer who is a member of the legal team for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.