Top QC Robert Richter loses big in gold mine linked to underworld figures

Type of protection : Granting release

Robert Richter is Melbourne's top criminal barrister, a Queen's Counsel, former president of the Victorian Council of Civil Liberties and successful defender of many colourful identities accused of egregious crimes, but a business venture with one of those identities looks to have cost the QC $250,000.

It was Mr Richter who convinced a jury that Mick Gatto's 2004 shooting of underworld hitman Andrew Veniamin in a Carlton restaurant was self-defence, not murder. Back in 1996 he also successfully defended Matt Tomas, an associate and business partner of Gatto, against a murder charge.

Now an attempt by Mr Tomas and Mr Richter to strike it rich in a gold mine venture appears to have left the top silk, and others, sorely out of pocket.

Mr Richter's interest in the Omeo mine began in spring 2011 when Mr Tomas asked him to lend money. At the time, unbeknown to Mr Richter, Mr Tomas was under investigation by the Australian Crime Commission for suspected involvement in money laundering. He was never charged.

Robert Richter, QC.


Legal backlash to harsher sentencing law change

Type of protection : Granting release

The state’s legal fraternity is preparing to push back against a State Government law change which reined in judicial discretion to hand out home detention sentences – particularly aimed at sex offenders – arguing that it is “distorting” the sentencing process.

The Law Society of South Australia and the South Australian Bar Association are currently preparing submissions for Attorney-General Vickie Chapman regarding the effects of the Sentencing Amendment Bill, which passed in May.