11-14 Nov 2014 | The Langham Hotel, Melbourne, Victoria | Asia Pacific Coroners Society Conference 2014

Speaker Details


Conference Dinner Speaker

Shane Maloney

Mr Shane Maloney

Shane Maloney is one of Australia's most popular novelists. His award-winning and much-loved Murray Whelan series, Stiff, The Brush-Off, Nice Try, The Big Ask, Something Fishy and Sucked In, has been published around the world. In 2009 he was presented with the Crime Writers Association of Australia Lifetime Achievement Award.



International Speaker

Peter Thornton

Judge Peter Thornton

His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC was appointed the first Chief Coroner of England and Wales in May 2012 and took up his appointment in September 2012.

He is a Senior Circuit Judge sitting in serious criminal cases at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey). He also sits as a judge of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and in the Administrative Court of the High Court on inquest cases. In 2011, as Assistant Deputy Coroner for the City of London, he conducted the inquest into the death of Ian Tomlinson who died at the time of the G20 protests in 2009.

Before becoming a full time judge he was a barrister in private practice and was head of chambers at Doughty Street Chambers.



National Speaker

Yeliena Baber

Dr Yeliena Baber

Yeliena studied medicine at the University of London. She is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, and initially worked as a surgeon with in the field of breast cancer surgery and reconstruction.

She subsequently retrained in pathology and am a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (London) and a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia.

Her current role is as a forensic pathologist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine having relocated from the UK in 2010.

Yeliena has a special interest in paediatric cases.

Soren Blau

Dr Soren Blau

Soren Blau BA(Hons), MSc, PhD, is the Senior Forensic Anthropologist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) where she has been employed since 2005. She is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University and a Founding Fellow, Faculty of Science, The Royal College of Pathologists of Australiasia. In addition to journal publications, Soren co-edited a book entitled Handbook of Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology (2009) which is being revised for a second edition. Soren undertakes domestic and international forensic anthropology casework as well as contributing to international training courses on aspects of Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) and the application of forensic anthropology and archaeology to the investigation of human rights violations.

Lyndal Bugeja

Dr Lyndal Bugeja

Dr Lyndal Bugeja is trained in criminology and public health. She manages the Coroners Prevention Unit at the Coroners Court of Victoria, which includes managing the Victorian Suicide Register.

Dr Bugeja has fifteen years experience in conducting medico-legal research and policy analysis to inform evidence-based recommendations for Coroners.

Dr Bugeja holds honorary research fellow appointments at Monash University Department of Forensic Medicine and the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.

Charlie Corke

A/Professor Charlie Corke

Practicing Intensive Care Specialist for many years. Vice President of the College of intensive Care Medicine. Has established communication training for Intensive care trainees.

He has a particular interest in end-of-life decision making and is a member of the ANZICS working party on withholding and withdrawing treatment.

Jeremy Dwyer

Dr Jeremy Dwyer

Jeremy Dwyer joined the Coroners Prevention Unit, Coroners Court of Victoria as a case investigator in February 2009.

He has assisted Victorian coroners with investigations into a wide range of deaths including suicides, overdoses, deaths in the context of police intervention, and sudden unexplained deaths of infants.

He was a core member of the team that designed and built the Victorian Suicide Register, and additionally created the Court's Overdose Deaths Register. 

Ian Freckelton

Dr Ian Freckelton

Ian Freckelton is a Queen’s Counsel practising at the Victorian, Northern Territory and Tasmanian Bars. He is also a Professorial Fellow of Law and Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Professor of Law and Forensic Medicine at Monash University.

He is an Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, the Australian Academy of Social Sciences and the Australasian College of Legal Medicine. He is the Editor of the Journal and Medicine and has written widely on health law matters, including coronial law and practice.

He is currently working (with David Ranson) on the 2nd edition of Death Investigation: Coronial Law and Practice.

Georgie Harman

Ms Georgie Harman

Georgie Harman was appointed CEO of beyondblue in May 2014.

Previously, Georgie was Deputy CEO at the National Mental Health Commission, and from 2006-2012, worked at the Commonwealth Department of Health where she had national responsibility for Australian mental health, suicide prevention and substance misuse policy and programs.

From 2003-2006 she was a member of the executive team at the Northern Territory Department of Health and Community Services. 

Ms Harman has also worked in the community sector and in private enterprise.  She came to Australia in 1999 to be the inaugural Executive Director for the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation in Sydney – Australia's first and largest independent HIV/AIDS charity.

Mary Hyland

Ms Mary Hyland

Mary is a case investigator in the Coroners Prevention Unit at the Coroners Court of Victoria, with a focus on death with mental health issues.

Mary comes from a nursing background having worked across most areas, more recently in psychiatry and drugs and alcohol services. Mary is an auditor with the Australian Council of Healthcare Standards and is part of accreditation teams working across all states and territories assessing compliance with the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards, the National Mental Health Standards and drugs and alcohol standards

Wayne Newman

Detective Snr Sgt Wayne Newman

Wayne Newman is a Detective Senior Sergeant at Victoria Police.

Wayne has been a member of Victoria Police for 23 years and has spent 10 years investigating homicides, including cold case & suspicious disappearances of missing persons. 

He has worked on high profile investigations including the murders of Anne Crawford, Anna & Gracie Sharpe, Maria Korp, Peter Shellard and Carl Williams.

Wayne has also served as part of two United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in Timor Leste and was part of an International Forensic Team led by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine that located and exhumed the remains of a number of victims from the 1991 Santa Cruz Massacre where over 250 people lost their lives.

Richard Newton

A/Professor Richard Newton

Richard was appointed in February 2009 as the Medical Director of Mental Health at Austin Health. Austin Mental Health is a tertiary specialist mental health service with a wide range of adult, child and adolescent and specialist statewide and regional mental health services. It is a major teaching, training and research centre.

Richard is also the Clinical Director of BETRS Body image, Eating disorders Treatment and Recovery Service, a regional community Eating disorders programme jointly run by Austin and St Vincent’s, and Consultant Psychiatrist to the Specialist Eating Disorder In Patient Service, Austin Health.

Inaugural Member of the Victorian Mental Health Reform Council, Co Chair of National Eating Disorders Collaborative National Standards group. Recipient of the 2009 Margaret Tobin Award of the RANZCP. Highly Commended in the Victorian Public Healthcare awards in the 2008 Ministers Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Mental Health Care.

He was formerly the Director of Psychiatry at Peninsula Health, whilst at Peninsula Health he used a six sigma methodology to inform the redevelopment of the mental health service into an integrated service with a focus on content of care.

Sarah Parsons

Dr Sarah Parsons

Dr Parsons is employed as a Forensic Pathologist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Pathology and am an Adjunct Senior Lecturer with Monash University.

She has recently completed a Master in Cardiovascular Pathology at the University of Padua and has an interest in cardiovascular pathology. 

Her other main interest is in post-mortem imaging and post mortem CT angiography.

David Ranson

Dr David Ranson

David is the Deputy Director of the Victorian institute of Forensic Medicine and practices as a forensic pathologist. With Dr Ian Freckelton QC he is the co-author of the Oxford textbook “Death investigation and the Coroners Inquest”.

As a specialist Medical Death Investigator he is involved with a wide range of Coroners death investigations including criminal matters such as homicide investigations as well as workplace deaths and deaths occurring in the setting of medical treatment and health care.

The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine also operates as the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University and David manages the medical law program for the medical school as well as teaching in the masters program in forensic medicine.

John  Silvester

Mr John Silvester

John Silvester has been a crime reporter based in Melbourne from the late 1970s.

He has written, edited and published crime books that have sold more than 1 million copies in Australia.

His work was adapted into the top rating Underbelly television series shown on Channel Nine and he has acted as presenter in a series of award winning television crime documentaries.

In 2008 he won Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the Year and was highly commended in the same award in 1998.

In 2008 he was judged the Victoria Law Foundation Legal Reporter of the Year.

He has won six Melbourne Press Club Quill awards (commended seven times), nine Victorian Law Foundation Awards, three Walkley Awards, a Ned Kelly Award for true crime writing and a Ned Kelly lifetime achievement award.

He is the senior crime reporter for The Age and appears on 3AW as crime commentator Sly of the Underworld. He has given evidence in Royal Commissions on crime and corruption.

He recently completed a two part documentary on police shootings in Victoria titled Trigger Point.

Paresa Antoniadis  Spanos

Coroner Paresa Antoniadis Spanos

Born in Melbourne, I attended Westgarth Central School, Preston Girls’ High School and the University of Melbourne where I studied Law and Arts graduating in 1980.  In March 1980 I started legal practice as an Articled Clerk/Employee Solicitor working in general litigation until 1984.

Between 1984 and 1994, I was employed by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, first in the Trials and Appeals Section, then as a Medifraud Specialist before becoming Senior Assistant Director.

In 1994, I was appointed a Magistrate sitting in Melbourne and some suburban courts, with periodic appointments to the Children’s Court.  Since 2005, I have worked as a Coroner undertaking a range of coronial investigations, with some specialisation in deaths occurring within a healthcare setting.  From 2005-2013, I was a member of the Victorian Child Death Review Committee.

Sue Turnbull

Professor Sue Turnbull

Sue Turnbull is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at the university of Wollongong. Her research interests include media education, media audiences and television studies.

Her recent publications include The Media and Communications in Australia (2014) with Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham and The Television Crime Drama (2014).

Sue is a frequent media commentator on television and radio who writes on crime fiction for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age and is a judge of the Ned Kelly Awards for Australian crime fiction. 



Panel Discussion

Sam Biondo

Mr Sam Biondo

Sam is Executive Officer of the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association. VAADA is the peak organisation representing AOD service providers in Victoria.

It’s stakeholders and members also include consumers of drug and alcohol related services; those affected by drug and alcohol misuse; members of the broader community and other related sectors. Sam was previously employed by Fitzroy Legal Service and has a background in education, social work and Criminology. His principal work has involved social research, the production of educational materials and advocacy work.

He has a keen interest in social justice, open and transparent systems of institutional accountability and has been involved on a number of community sector Boards, reference committees, and NGO associations

Malcolm Dobbin

Dr Malcolm Dobbin

Dr Dobbin is a Public Health Physician and Senior Medical Advisor (Alcohol and Drugs) to the Victorian Department of Health.

He has a background in research, emergency medicine, drug and alcohol treatment, public health, and 10 years working for Aboriginal community controlled health services in urban and remote Australia.

His interests include addressing the harm from misuse of pharmaceutical drugs (perscription and over-the-counter).

Irvine Newton

Mr Irvine Newton

Irvine Newton, a community pharmacist and pharmacy owner, was a Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (Vic Branch) councillor for many years and President in 1998-99. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Pharmacy Management and a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. He won an Alcohol and Other Drug Council of Australia (ADCA) Australia Day Award in 2002.

According to ADCA, Irvine has ‘devoted much of his professional career as a pharmacist to implementing services for illicit drug users. He has been instrumental in creating a culture of change within pharmacy and he has unstintingly worked to eliminate prejudice towards drug users’. He was also awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2005 for service to the pharmacy profession and to the community, particularly through promoting harm minimisation programs. Irvine is a long time Chair of the PSA Harm Minimisation Committee.

He was spokesman of the National Pharmacy Illicit Drug Training Project and was awarded Professional of the Year 2003 by Professions Australia.

Morris Odell

A/Professor Morris Odell

A/Prof Odell is a senior forensic physician with extensive experience in all areas of Clinical Forensic medicine.

He has a special interest in toxicology and drug effects and has given evidence in many jurisdictions including Coroner’s courts  on these subjects.

He has conducted research into the effects of drugs on driving and on the interpretation of blood tests for cannabis in heavy users. 

Asia Pacific Coroners' Society Conference 2014