Mark Tedeschi and the bottom line on justice

First Published: MARCH 27, 2013

One only has to talk to Mark Tedeschi to understand he is passionate about justice. Knowing he wanted to be a lawyer at aged 4 is an indicator of a person who has always been driven to be part of the justice system.

He is, however, an unusual man – full of paradoxes and the unexpected. An avid photographer, his portraits are full of humour and irony. Not to mention his first novel – the story of Eugenia, a woman who lived as a man and married two different women who never knew that their husband was really a woman.

What is so interesting about Mark is that he seems to be able to put himself into the minds of his subjects – whether that is those he is prosecuting, the jury he is presenting his case to, or the subjects of his photography and writing.

In asking Mark if he found any common factors between those who committed truly terrible acts, he had a very pragmatic response. He felt that most of the time, people who had committed terrible crimes were just people – in their worst moment. Not monsters, but ordinary people.

He also commented that serious crime had been decreasing since gun laws had tightened under the Howard government. It would seem gun reform does indeed have a big impact on serious crime rates, and our country should be used as evidence for the rest of the world on this issue.

Mark had definite views on the mental health system and the fact that most people with mental health issues do not commit serious crimes.  He also said it is extremely difficult to identify when which individuals with mental health challenges would end up committing serious crimes. It would seem, based on this insight, that the efforts in the US to identify early-on those with serious mental illness, will not be an effective deterrent to the kinds of shooting tragedies that have become more frequent.

To meet someone like Mark Tedeschi is both intriguing and slightly daunting – his intellect and ability to keep a cool head in the most emotionally charged and confronting circumstances make him an exceptional human being. Australia is lucky to have Mark Tedeschi as one of our legal defenders.