Mark Tedeschi

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Mark Tedeschi

OccupationBarrister, former Senior Crown Prosecutor
OrganizationWardell Chambers, Sydney
Home townSydney
WebsiteOfficial Website of Mark Tedeschi

Mark Tedeschi, AM QC, (born 1952) is an Australian barrister, law professor, photographer and author. He is in private practice at Wardell Chambers in Sydney.[2] He was formerly the Senior Crown Prosecutor for New South Wales and the Head of Chambers of the 100 or so Crown Prosecutors.[3] He was the founder and president of the Australian Association of Crown Prosecutors[4] and is a visiting professor at the University of Wollongong.[5] As a prosecutor, Tedeschi was best known for the prosecution of numerous high-profile cases in Australia, including the Backpacker Murders committed by Ivan Milat in the 1990s.[6] He has won numerous awards for his photography and has been featured in galleries throughout the world, including in the State Library of New South Wales, the New South Wales Art Gallery,[3] the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado,[7] and the National Library in Canberra.[8]

Early life and education[edit]

Tedeschi earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Sydney in 1974 and was then admitted as a Solicitor in New South Wales. He later received a Master of Arts in Business Law, specialising in International Banking, Trade and Taxation Law from the London Metropolitan University (then the City of London Polytechnic), where he also served as a part-time Lecturer in Law.[9]

Professional career[edit]

Legal career[edit]

Tedeschi became a Barrister in 1977. He was a defence barrister during the (so called) "Greek Conspiracy Case" in 1979-81 in which over 100 people, the majority of whom were of Greek origin, were arrested and charged with defrauding Social Security. The case sparked a documentary entitled Witch Hunt that premiered at the 1987 Sydney Film Festival.[10] He was appointed a Crown Prosecutor in 1983, a Queen's Counsel in 1988, a Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor in 1990, and the Senior Crown Prosecutor in 1997. He resigned as a Crown Prosecutor in February 2018, making him the longest serving Crown Prosecutor and Senior Crown Prosecutor in the State’s history.

During his career as a prosecutor, he worked on numerous high-profile cases in New South Wales. Tedeschi prosecuted the Backpacker Murders committed by Ivan Milat in the 1990s,in which a total of seven bodies were discovered in the Belanglo State Forest in New South Wales. Milat was later arrested and found guilty of all murders on 27 July 1996. Milat later appealed the conviction, but it was upheld.[6]

Tedeschi successfully prosecuted Chew Seng Liew and Choon Tee Lim for the 1991 shooting death of prominent Australian heart surgeon Victor Chang. On 4 July 1991, Chang was forced to pull his vehicle over by Liew and Lim and they attempted to rob him. After pulling over, Chang refused to give Liew and Lim his money. An argument ensued and Liew fired two shots, killing Chang. A third suspect was granted immunity for testifying against Liew and Lim. The original plan was to abduct Chang for ransom, however, the third suspect backed out of the plan the day before the shooting.[11]

In 2001, he prosecuted family-murderer Sef Gonzales. Tedeschi was the lead prosecutor in a trial arising out of the infamous 2000 Fijian coup d'état led by George Speight. In 2004, he prosecuted then Vice-President Jope Seniloli for falsely swearing in of ministers. He also won convictions against Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Rakuita Vakalalabure, as well as Ratu Viliame Volavola, PeceliRinakama, and Viliame Savu for the similar offences. All were sentenced to various prison terms.[6]

The entrance to the Belanglo State Forest where the Backpacker Murders took place in the 1990s

In 2007, Tedeschi was the Counsel Assisting the Coroner during the Inquest into the deaths of five Australian journalists at Balibo in East Timor. Dubbed the Balibo Five, all were killed on 16 October 1975 during the Indonesian incursions prior to the main invasion of East Timor. The deaths were found to have been deliberate at the Inquest by an Australian coroner, who ruled that they were killed by Indonesian special forces soldiers. The incident was the subject of the 2009 film Balibo which won several awards.[6]

Tedeschi prosecuted Phuong Ngo for the assassination of New South Wales Member of Parliament John Newman. This was the first political assassination in modern Australia's history and the trial ended in two mistrials before Ngo was found guilty of the murder in 2001. Ngo was a rival politician to Newman.[6]

Other notable cases prosecuted by Tedeschi include:

Controversies as a prosecutor[edit]

In 1991, the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal made criticism of Tedeschi in acquitting Tim Anderson of charges related to the 1978 Hilton Hotel bombing. Chief Justice Murray Gleeson said, in a unanimous judgement: "The trial of the appellant miscarried principally because of an error which resulted in large part from the failure of the prosecuting authorities adequately to check aspects of the Jayewardene theory. This was compounded by what I regard as an inappropriate and unfair attempt by the Crown to persuade the jury to draw inferences of fact, and accept argumentative suggestions, that were not properly open on the evidence. I do not consider that in those circumstances the Crown should be given a further opportunity to patch up its case against the appellant. It has already made one attempt too many to do that, and I believe that, if that attempt had never been made, there is a strong likelihood that the appellant would have been acquitted.” [33]

Tim Anderson told ABC television that The Legal Aid Commission, acting for him, laid almost 50 complaints against Tedeschi to the NSW Bar Council. "None of it came to anything" [34]

Mark Tedeschi was also criticised as a prosecutor in 2012 by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal in the Gordon Wood trial. In acquitting Gordon Wood over the alleged murder of Caroline Byrne, the appeal judges found he relied on fiction and dangerous reasoning in the Wood case.[35] Chief Judge Peter McLellan made numerous critical references to Tedeschi’s presentation of evidence, concluding: “The difficulties which the prosecutor’s conduct created are so significant that I am satisfied it caused the trial to miscarry occasioning a miscarriage of justice. The fundamental problem with the course taken by the prosecutor was that both generally and with respect to particular questions the prosecutor reversed the onus of proof.” [36]

Subsequently, Wood lodged complaints against Tedeschi to the New South Wales Bar Association, which were all dismissed.

In December 2017,Tedeschi wrote two email messages to state prosecutors, arguing that some of his colleagues were making inappropriate concessions to the defence. He said that the key role of a Crown prosecutor was “to act as a contradictor” [37].. The Bar Council responded that Tedeschi’s messages had presented a “fundamental misunderstanding of the independent role of Crown prosecutors, as mere agents, rather than independent counsel”,.[37][38] A DPP media release agreed with the main points of the Bar Council’s statement.[39] Mark Tedeschi resigned as Senior Crown Prosecutor in February 2018, having announced his resignation in October 2017.

Academic career[edit]

From 1974 to 1975, Tedeschi served as a Lecturer in Law at the London Metropolitan University. At that time, it was known as the City of London Polytechnic. He was a part-time lecturer while earning his master's degree.[40]

In 1975 he was appointed as a lecturer in law at the Kuring-Gai College of Advanced Education (subsequently part of the University of Technology Sydney).

In 2005, he was appointed as a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of Wollongong.[5]


Tedeschi is a well-known photographer. He has had fifteen solo exhibitions and participated in over twenty group exhibitions in Australia, Italy, France, and the United States.[2] His images are included in the State Library of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of New South Wales,[5][41] the National Library of Australia in Canberra,[42] the Museum of Sydney, the Justice and Police Museum, the State Library of New South Wales (which has over 200 of his images),[43] the Centre for Fine Art Photography in Colorado USA,[44] and many private collections.

Tedeschi has been a judge of photographic competitions including the New South Wales Parliamentary Photography Prize.[45] He frequently lectures on photography to camera clubs, the Art Gallery Society, and community groups. Tedeschi is a member of the board of directors of the National Art School in Sydney and a Trustee of Sydney Grammar School. He is a former artist-in-residence at Sydney Grammar School.[46]


Tedeschi is the author of several books, including one on international business law which he co-authored in 1980: Law of International Business in Australia with Dr. P.J. O'Keefe.[47] A book of his photographs was published by Beagle Press in 2012 entitled Shooting Around Corners, which featured over twenty-five years of his photography.[48][49]

Tedeschi is the author of three true-crime books.The first was “Eugenia”, published in 2012 by Simon & Schuster Australia, which tells the story of Eugenia Falleni, a woman of Italian and New Zealand background who lived in Australia as a man from 1898 until she was charged with the murder of her first "wife" in 1920. In this book, Tedeschi describes the tortuous life that Falleni led as a woman trying to lead life as a man in a society that did not understand such things. He describes her murder trial in Sydney in 1920 in which she was prosecuted by the first Senior Crown Prosecutor, William Coyle KC. Part of the book describes this very complex and interesting trial, and Falleni's life after her trial.[50]

The second book was “Kidnapped: the Crime that shocked a Nation”, published by Simon & Schuster Australia in 2015. This book is the story of the kidnapping and murder of 8-year-old Graeme Thorne in 1960.

The third was “Murder at Myall Creek: The Trial that defined a Nation” published by Simon & Schuster Australia in 2016. This is the story of the trial of 11 white men who were charged with the murder of 28 Aboriginal Australians in 1838, and the prosecutor, John Hubert Plunkett who conducted their trial.[51]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Tedeschi has been a four time finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra[8][52] as well as the Contemporary Photographic Prize,[53] the "Head On" Photographic Portrait Prize at the Australian Centre for Photography,[54][55] and the Photographic Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in London.[56]

In 2009 Tedeschi was made a Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana or Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.[57] In 2013 he was announced a Member of the Order of Australia (AM),[58] for significant service to the law as a prosecutor, and to photography.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Art Gallery of New South Wales. "Works By Mark Tedeschi". Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Wardell Chambers Sydney | Barristers' Chambers". Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Annual Report" (PDF). Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. 26 August 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  4. ^ Australian Association of Crown Prosecutors. "Australian Association of Crown Prosecutors" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Weekly, Lawyers (3 March 2012). "Unique criminal law course produces first graduates". Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e Act Lawyers. "The Case For The Prosecution". Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Mark Tedeschi - Blue Labyrinth - Latest News". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  9. ^ University of Sydney Magazine. "Sydney Alumni" (PDF). Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  10. ^ Documentary Australia. "Witch Hunt". Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  11. ^ Chin, Rachael Jane (11 November 2011). Nice Girl. ReadHowYouWant. pp. 19–20. ISBN 9781458795885.
  12. ^ Morton, James; Lobez, Susanna (1 February 2016). Dangerous to Know Updated Edition: An Australasian Crime Compendium. Melbourne Univ. Publishing. ISBN 9780522869699.
  13. ^ "Diary of mum accused of killing her four babies -". Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  14. ^ Glendinning, Lee. "It wasn't me, insists Gonzales". Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Burrell a double murderer". NewsComAu. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Doctor guilty of illegal abortion - National -". Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  17. ^ Fife-Yeomans, Janet. "Blood brothers: Who's the killer?". Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  18. ^ HOHENBOKEN, ANGUS. "Manslaughter ruling over euthanasia". The Australian. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "DJ found guilty of 120 sex offences". The Age. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  21. ^ "Des Campbell guilty of wife's cliff murder". ABC News. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Nurse killer should get life sentence, court told". NewsComAu. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Begley, Patrick (15 September 2015). "Accused murderer Robert Xie's 'egregious mistake' in Lin family deaths". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  25. ^ "Rozelle shop owner sentenced to 30 years' jail over fatal fire". ABC News. 5 August 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  26. ^ Kembrey, Melanie (29 September 2016). "Monis had 'grandiose delusion of a narcissist', Amirah Droudis' murder trial told". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  27. ^ "Doctor guilty of murdering wife with fatal insulin dose". ABC News. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  28. ^ Gardiner, Stephanie (8 March 2013). "Shot officer: convicted man 'regretful and sad'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  29. ^
  30. ^ Bibby, Paul (30 May 2013). "Victims to be heard before nurse's sentencing". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  31. ^
  32. ^ Hall, Louise (13 April 2011). "Apology for killings, but talk of release terrifies the Waterlow family". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  33. ^ Gleeson CJ in R v Anderson (Hilton Bombing Case) (1991) 53, A Crim R 421
  34. ^ Deborah Cornwall, 2016 High profile prosecutor faces accusations', ABC Television, 7.30 report,
  35. ^ Deborah Cornwall, 2012, ‘High profile prosecutor faces accusations’, ABC 7.30 report, 12 March,
  36. ^ Hemming, Andrew (2013) When should a judge stop a trial? University of Notre Dame Australia Law Review, 15 (1). pp. 56-82. ISSN 1441-9769;
  37. ^ a b Arthur Moses, ‘Independence of Crown Prosecutors’, letter to Lloyd Babb, DPP, from President of the NSW Bar Council, 7 December 2017,
  40. ^ University of Sydney. "2007 Newsletter" (PDF). Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  41. ^ "The Inner sanctum, (1988, printed 1994) by Mark Tedeschi :: The Collection :: Art Gallery NSW". Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  42. ^ The National Library. "[Portrait of Justice James Wood] [picture] / [Mark Tedeschi]". National Library of Australia – Canberra. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  43. ^ Library of New South Wales. "Mark Tedeschi aggregated collection of photographs, 1988–2009". State Library of NSW – Manuscripts, Oral History & Pictures. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  44. ^ Center for Fine Art. "Exhibitors Accouncement – Black & White Exhibition". The Center for Fine Art Photography – 2009 Black and White Exhibition. Archived from the original on 30 August 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  45. ^ "Committee". NSW Parliamentary Plein Air Photographic Prize. Archived 4 June 2012.
  46. ^ National Art School. "Directors Appointed to the new National Art School Board". National Art School. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  47. ^ Get Cited. "Law of International Business in Australia". Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  48. ^ The Beagle Press. "Mark Tedeschi: Shooting Around Corners". Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  49. ^ Mark, Tedeschi (2012). Shooting Around Corners. Sydney, New South Wales: The Beagle Press. ISBN 9780947349592.
  50. ^ Simon and Schuster. "Eugenia". Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  51. ^ "Murder at Myall Creek". Simon & Schuster Australia.
  52. ^ "National Portrait Gallery London". National Portrait Gallery London. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  53. ^ Moran Prizes. "Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize". Moran Prizes Home Page. Archived from the original on 28 April 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  54. ^ Sydney Morning Herald (24 April 2007). "From head to toe, in varied styles". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  55. ^ "Australian Centre for Photography". Australian Centre for Photography. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  56. ^ "National Portrait Gallery London". National Portrait Gallery London. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  57. ^ Tedeschi Avv. Mark (in Italian). Presidenza della Repubblica Italiana. Accessed February 2018.
  58. ^ "Top prosecutor Tedeschi snaps up award". Financial Review. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2018.

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