Our history: 1990–99

Our history: 1990–99

Walsh Street murders

The Legal Aid Commission of Victoria was involved in controversy in the 1991 Walsh Street murder trial over its representation of two men accused of murdering police constables Steven Tynan and Damian Eyre. Both defendants were ultimately acquitted at trial.

Victoria Legal Aid

Following two government reviews, it was decided in 1995 to replace the Legal Aid Commission of Victoria with a new body, Victoria Legal Aid, making the management structure more streamlined, professional and efficient.

Bairnsdale office

We opened a regional office in Bairnsdale in 1995.

New Commonwealth funding arrangements

In 1996 the Commonwealth Government terminated the existing Commonwealth/state legal aid funding agreements. Under the new funding formula, Commonwealth funding to legal aid commissions across the country was reduced and could only be used for Commonwealth legal matters, a distinction that exists today.

Challenging the Control of Weapons Act 1990

We successfully represented a client who was found guilty of possessing a regulated weapon under the Control of Weapons Act 1990 for wearing a studded belt. The Supreme Court Justice agreed with our argument that the belt was not a regulated weapon under the Act because anything that is not in common use as a weapon cannot be classed as a weapon.

Port Arthur tragedy

Following the tragic death of 35 people and the wounding of 21 others at Port Arthur in 1996, we assisted 65 victims with claims under the Port Arthur Victims Appeal Fund.