Three King’s Counsels have been appointed as judges to the District Court of Queensland and start on Monday.
Current Director of Public Prosecutions Carl Heaton KC will sit in Brisbane. Cairns-based barrister Joshua Trevino KC will remain in Cairns. Brisbane barrister and former Principal Crown Prosecutor, Benedict Power KC will sit in Ipswich.
Mr Heaton KC has appeared in criminal trials and appeals at every level including appearances as an advocate in the High Court of Australia.
He began his 30-plus-year career as a Legal Officer with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) in 1989, spent three years as a Crown Prosecutor from 1992, and later became the Deputy Public Defender with Legal Aid Queensland for nine years.
Mr Heaton KC rejoined the ODPP as Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in 2016 and was appointed as the Director of Public Prosecutions in 2020, where he managed more than 500 staff in addition to his prosecutorial duties.
Mr Trevino KC has been a defence lawyer in the Cairns region for the past 18 years, having been called to the Bar in 2005 and appointed Senior Counsel in 2020.
He is Chair of the Regional Issues Committee of the Bar Association of Queensland and has served on the sub-committee of the Bar’s Professional Conduct Committee for nine years.
Mr Power KC, a barrister for 26 years, spent the last eight years in private chambers which included appearing as Counsel Assisting in the Disability Royal Commission and at the Grantham Flood Inquiry.
Before that, he was the Principal Crown Prosecutor for the Mental Health Court chambers within the Brisbane office of the ODPP, after serving as Principal Crown Prosecutor for appeals to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Power KC spent three years with Legal Aid Queensland earlier in his career, studied for a Masters of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Oxford University in 2008, and dedicated 12 months working on a prisoners’ rights project with the Legal Aid Society of New York in the early 2000s.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the three new judges possessed “impeccable credentials and will be assets to the District Court”.
“All three have gained tremendous experience over a long period of time and are richly deserving of their appointments,” she said.
“The three additional positions will assist the Court to give Queenslanders access to the justice system in a timely manner without unreasonable delays for defendants and victims.”