Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas
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Mark is a barrister with a multi-faceted practice. This includes administrative law, criminal law (both trial and appellate), human rights law, disciplinary tribunal, personal injury law, Royal Commission, coronial law and asylum seeker matters (Federal Circuit Court, Federal Court and High Court of Australia).


He has been:

  • Counsel for the head of the Church authority in the Federal Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse- case inquiry no 17 (Retta Dixon Home), both at the hearing, which occurred in Darwin in September/October 2014, and the legal aftermath, which continues. This matter, a cause celebre, if of national historical importance, particularly in relation to the Aboriginal stolen generation/s in the Northern Territory and the legal responsibilities of, inter alia, the Commonwealth Government and the relevant church authority.
  • Counsel for Baby Asha, a baby presently detained in Nauru Refugee Processing Centre and her family. This matter, again a cause celebre, is a key case highlighting the plight of very young children born in Australia, who remain in indefinite detention in Nauru.
  • Counsel assisting the Agents Licensing Board of the Northern Territory regarding administrative law inquiries concerning Strata title law breaches.
  • Counsel assisting the Northern Territory Coroner in numerous matters, including numerous complicated medical matters (eg Hampel); motor vehicle licensing regulatory problems regarding elderly/infirm drivers (Wilton); and the consequences, inter alia, of protracted methylamphetamine abuse (Walsh).
  • Counsel for the Commonwealth in the 2013 fraud case of R v Malden, which was the first prosecution in the Northern Territory under the new legislation established pursuant to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.
  • Counsel for the Power and Water Corporation of the NT in relation to electricity user criminal infractions.
  • Counsel for the plaintiff in the important administrative law matter of Chin v Teague (2014), in which he was successful (against the DPP) on appeal to the Court of Appeal, and which dealt with the question, in particular, of prosecution duties regarding adjournment applications.
  • Counsel for numerous accused persons in many criminal trials/appeals in the Northern Territory Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeal. These include Forrester v R (2013) which was an important matter that concerned a lacuna in police drink driving procedural law.
  • In addition he has been counsel for the DPP in numerous matters in the Court of Criminal Appeal / Court of Appeal, which include the matters of R v A, R v Lo Castro (no 1), R v Knight and Cassidy (which clarified the law in the Northern Territory regarding common purpose/joint criminal enterprise), and Chenhall v Mosel (2013), which dealt with, inter alia, the parameters of inferences to be drawn from lies.
  • Junior counsel for the NT DPP in the murder trial of R v Buttery, Grieve and Malyschko both on appeal (2013) and at trial (2012). This complex and protracted murder case concerned the first contract killing murder trial in the Northern Territory.
  • Counsel for numerous asylum seeker clients in respect of litigation in the High Court of Australia that is connected to the lead case of M68 v Commonwealth of Australia and others (which was heard in October 2015 before the full court of the High Court).
  • Counsel assisting the family of an imprisoned Australian journalist in Egypt during the initial trial that was conducted in Egypt from February to June 2014. This matter became a cause celebre and attracted protracted international attention.
  • Counsel for the continuing case of R v JD in the Northern Territory Supreme Court, which concerns the defence of JD against an application by the Attorney General of the Northern Territory to detain JD in gaol pursuant to the NT Serious Sexual Offences Act. This is only the second such application in the Northern Territory pursuant to this Act and has important implications for administrative law and indigenous people, in particular, in the Northern Territory.


Mark was formally a criminal defence advocate in NSW for the first Aboriginal Legal Service in Australia, in Redfern, from 1988 to 1996. During this time he conducted no less than 400 hearings including successfully defending defendants in three successive murder cases, the last of which was a triple murder. He appeared in more than 100 courts throughout the state.

Later he worked at the NSW DPP, initially in a unit (Group 6) that was dedicated primarily to the prosecution of police and certain high profile/complex matters. During this time he instructed the Senior Crown Prosecutor in the prosecution of John Laws, as well as the prosecution of a person that NSW Police alleged to be the most significant heroin supplier in Australia. He was later the trial prosecutor in MFA v R, which later went to the High Court and became a significant case concerning the law in relation to mixed verdicts of guilt/not guilty ((2002) 213 CLR 606).

Mark later worked at the NT DPP as a Senior Crown Prosecutor and prosecuted numerous murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, drug, fraud and motor vehicle death cases.

Mark has had extensive experience dealing with expert evidence in a range of matters including organic chemistry in the recent Commonwealth conspiracy trial of R v Collocott (NT Supreme Court, 2015), electricity, medicine, psychiatry, motor vehicle crash analysis and engineering.

Mark is the Secretary of the Northern Territory Bar Association.



Sydney University: Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Economics- winner of the JH McClemens Prize for first place in Criminology

Year and place of first admission » 1987, NSW



Hypersonic aircraft, literature, travel, cycling, running, writing, film, music, swimming, AFL (notably the Swans which he has been barracking for since the age of 3, when they were Sth Melbourne).

He has an interest in long distance bicycle rides having ridden across Tibet to Kathmandu on one of the highest roads in the world; ridden from Jerusalem to Cairo (around the Sinai desert); ridden across the UK (John O’Groats to Lands End); trans Israel from north to south (including the Dead Sea and Jericho); ridden across Australia from Fremantle to Sydney (4,813 kms)- after having been run over by a car on the first attempt the year before at the 4,200 km mark; and finally ridden on a very old bike from Mandalay in Burma to Maymyo in 45 degree heat, which proved, by a considerable margin, to be the least pleasant rides he has ever done!

Contact Details

P: 0889411066
M: 0427344276

Areas of Practice

  • Administrative Law
  • Anti-Discrimination
  • Appellate Proceedings
  • Care and Protection of Children
  • Comcare
  • Coronial Inquiries
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Proceedings
  • Disciplinary Tribunals
  • Extradition
  • Family and Estate Law
  • Forfeiture
  • Guardianship and Mental Health
  • Human Rights
  • Indigenous
  • Personal Injuries
  • Public Law
  • Refugees