find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Controversy over for Marsden

Controversy over for Marsden

Campbelltown lawyer John Robert Marsden has passed away at the age of 64. President of the NSW Law Society in 1991 and 1992, Marsden was an outspoken supporter of the decriminalisation of…

Campbelltown lawyer John Robert Marsden has passed away at the age of 64. President of the NSW Law Society in 1991 and 1992, Marsden was an outspoken supporter of the decriminalisation of marijuana and came out publicly as homosexual during his term.

He advocated for gay and lesbian rights, including for those serving in the NSW police force.

The young Marsden, born the first of seven children in Lismore, grew up a Catholic in Campbelltown, where his parents owned a pub. He was educated at St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill and De La Salle College in Armidale, and attended a seminary, though he left before taking vows.

As the Milat family lawyer, Marsden defended infamous serial killer Ivan Milat in 1974, getting him off two rape charges, but was sacked by the defendant before his most high profile trial. He later expressed regret that his successful defence of Milat paved the way for the death of seven tourists. Marsden had also planned to be on the defence team for former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, citing a strong conviction that every person should be entitled to a lawyer.

The controversial barrister also sued the Seven Network in Australia’s longest-running defamation suit, which was in and out of courts from 1995 to 2003. Twice, programs on the network had alleged that Marsden had paid for underage sex. Marsden’s decision to allow his private life to be ransacked by prosecution and defence was vindicated when in 2003, Seven was ordered to pay a multimillion dollar settlement.

Marsden was holidaying with friends in Turkey when he died, at around 5am Sydney time on Thursday 18 May. His death followed a three-year fight against stomach cancer. “John chose not to take advice about travelling in his poor condition but he has been defiant for all of his life and he died the same way — defiantly. He fought it to the very end,” said his brother Jim Marsden. “John is survived by his two brothers and three sisters. We are all devastated as I am sure are his many friends in the Australian community, particularly the gay community, and the community of his beloved Campbelltown.”

President of the NSW Law Society, June McPhie, said Marsden was a great civil libertarian and had been extensively involved with many organisations in the Macarthur region for more than 35 years. “His passion and principles transcended political barriers,” she said. “He was larger than life, he lived life to the fullest and he had the courage of his convictions. [A] trusted colleague, [he was] generous to the fault and a true gentleman. He believed that if you ran a business in the local community then you should put something back into that community. He will be sadly missed,” she said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Controversy over for Marsden
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 24 2017
Demand lifts in 2017/18 for short-term finance to cover crises
Promoted by NWC Finance. The first five months of the 2017-18 financial year have seen unpreceden...
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
Nov 24 2017
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
The Law Council of Australia says the establishment of a panel which will examine the human right to...
Law Society launched a new website, legal politics and lawmaking
Nov 24 2017
Law Society launches project to engage young Aussies
The Law Society of NSW has launched a new website to engage young Australians in legal politics and ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...