Annette Mason legal team wins 2019 ALA QLD Civil Justice Award
15th Feb 2019
The legal team that fought to find the truth for the family of murdered Annette Mason has been presented with the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) 2019 Queensland Civil Justice Award (CJA) in recognition of their unwavering commitment to the pursuit of justice.
Annette’s sister Linda Mason, solicitor Leanne McDonald and barrister Clem van der Weegen were presented with the QLD CJA during the ALA's state conference on the Gold Coast today.
ALA Queensland President Greg Spinda said that these Queenslanders had demonstrated enormous resilience and determination in their fight to find the truth for the family of Annette Mason.
“Linda, Leanne and Clem are a formidable team and are truly deserving recipients of this year’s ALA Queensland Civil Justice Award,” Mr Spinda said.
Almost 30 years ago Annette Mason was murdered in her home in Toowoomba when she was 15 years old, and no one has ever been charged with this crime. In November last year the inquest into her death was re-opened and there is renewed hope that criminal charges will be laid when the Coroner hands down his findings.
“The re-opening and hearing of the inquest would never have happened if it wasn’t for these three dedicated people who have fought tirelessly for justice,” said Mr Spinda. “The Mason family are now closer to knowing the truth than ever before.”
Linda Mason is Annette’s sister and she has spearheaded the fight to find Annette’s killer, despite many setbacks and difficulties along the way. Linda has lobbied government to do more, run campaigns to encourage witnesses to come forward and encouraged the public to care about this case.
The sacrifices Linda has made over the past 30 years coupled with her sheer determination encouraged solicitor, Leanne McDonald and barrister, Clem van der Weegen to accept the challenge of working on this case pro-bono.
Leanne McDonald from Shine Lawyers was a teenager living in Toowoomba when Annette was murdered, and she will never forget the effect it had on the town. Clem and Leanne have both volunteered countless hours of their time and professional expertise to this complex case.
“Winning this prestigious award is such an honour, but the progress we have made in finding Annette’s killer simply wouldn’t have been possible without the bravery and determination of the Mason family,” said Ms McDonald.
“I can’t thank the Mason family enough for allowing us to be Annette’s voice.
“Linda Mason has played a crucial role in our legal team. After nearly 30 years fighting for her sister, Linda’s understanding of the law is hard to believe. If she didn’t know something she would find a way to teach herself. Annette would be so proud of her today.”
The annual ALA Civil Justice Award recognises individuals or organisations who have displayed outstanding commitment to the pursuit of justice.