Nicholas Cowdery

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Nichols Cowdery

Cowdery (left) in 2015
Born
Nicholas Richard Cowdery

(1946-03-19) 19 March 1946 (age 77)
NationalityAustralian
Education
Alma materUniversity of Sydney
Occupation(s)Barrister;
NSW Director of Public Prosecutions
Years active1994 – 2011
Awards

Nicholas Richard Cowdery AO, KC (born 19 March 1946), is a barrister who served as the Director of Public Prosecutions for the Australian state of New South Wales from 1994 to 2011.[1] Cowdery also served as president of the International Association of Prosecutors from 1999 to 2005.

Early life and education[edit]

Cowdery attended Wollongong High School and completed his secondary schooling at the Sydney Grammar School. He graduated in Arts and Law at the University of Sydney where he was a resident of St. Paul's College, where he is now an Honorary Fellow.

Cowdery was awarded with an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Wollongong in 2011.

Career[edit]

In 1971, he commenced practising as a public defender in Papua New Guinea after admission as a barrister in the same year. Cowdery entered private practice in 1975, where he stayed until 1994, concentrating on criminal law, common law, administrative law and some commercial law. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1987, served as an Associate Judge of the District Court between 1988 and 1990.

Cowdery was appointed the director of public prosecutions for New South Wales in 1994, and ended his sixteen-year tenure in 2011. During his term as NSW Director of Public Prosecutions he was, according to Phillip Adams "... an outspoken critic of the pace and style of drug reform, .... and of the mandatory sentencing regimes in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.[2] With his office independent of government, Cowdery would often speak out publicly against politicians - especially if he disagreed with them.[3][4][5] Cowdery's notable successful prosecutions include Ivan Milat, Gordon Wood, and Keli Lane.[3][4]

Cowdery was elected president of the International Association of Prosecutors in 1999 and re-elected to a second three-year term in September 2002. Since his retirement as public prosecutor, he holds a number of honorary academic positions including as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Sydney's Institute of Criminology; a visiting professorial fellow at the University of New South Wales and the University of Wollongong's law faculties; and as an adjunct professor at Charles Sturt University. Cowdery is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

He is a member of the board of the Rule of Law Institute of Australia and is the chairman of the Magna Carta Committee of the Rule of Law Institute, a body that celebrated the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

Cowdery was chairman of White Ribbon Australia before standing down after it was revealed in the media that Cowdery had earlier made comments about the sex life of Keli Lane, a convicted murderer.[6]

Honours[edit]

Cowdery was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in June 2003;[7] and an Officer of the Order in June 2019 in recognition of his distinguished service to the law, to the protection of human rights, to professional legal bodies, and to the community.[8]

Selected published works[edit]

  • Cowdery, Nicholas (1999). "Mandatory Life Sentences in New South Wales". UNSW Law Journal. 22 (1). 290.
  • Cowdery, Nicholas (2001). Getting justice wrong : myths, media and crime. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-86508-322-3.
  • Cowdery, Nicholas (22 March 2005). Creative sentencing & plea bargaining : does it happen and what are the results?. LAWASIAdownunder. pp. Session 9.1.
  • Cowdery, Nicholas (2011), Reforming the criminal justice system [electronic resource], Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, retrieved 11 July 2019
  • Cowdery, Nicholas; Chin, Rachael Jane (2019), Frank & fearless, NewSouth Publishing, ISBN 978-1-74224-910-0

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ackland, Richard (18 March 2011). "John Hatzistergos gets rid of Cowdery". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
  2. ^ Adams, Phillip (26 April 2000). "Nicholas Cowdery QC" (streaming audio). Late Night Live, Radio National (Interview). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b "NSW's firebrand DPP Nick Cowdery honoured". SBS News. Australia: Special Broadcasting Service. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b Nicholas Cowdery (2011). "Take on Prisoners". Australian Story (Interview). Interviewed by Caroline Jones. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Controversial DPP Cowdery to quit his job for life". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 April 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Keli Lane: Nicholas Cowdery resigns as White Ribbon chair after comments on ABC's Exposed about killer's sex life". ABC News. Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Member of the Order of Australia (AM) entry for Nicholas Richard COWDERY". It's an Honour, Australian Honours Database. Canberra, Australia: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 9 June 2003. Retrieved 11 July 2019. For service to the development and practice of criminal law, and to the fostering of international co-operation in the area of human rights.
  8. ^ "Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) entry for Nicholas Richard COWDERY". It's an Honour, Australian Honours Database. Canberra, Australia: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2019. For distinguished service to the law, to the protection of human rights, to professional legal bodies, and to the community.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by Director of Public Prosecutions
1994 – 2011
Succeeded by