Three District Court judges will be sworn in next month, as Attorney General Gabrielle Upton announced today Penelope Wass SC will join the bench.
Ms Wass’ appointment follows that of John Pickering SC and Siobhan Herbert, who will become District Court judges as part of the NSW Government’s $20 million package to reduce pressure on the jurisdiction.
“Ms Wass has a quarter of a century of experience in law, including nine years as a Commonwealth prosecutor and 16 years as a barrister,” Ms Upton said.
“Her skill, diligence and integrity were recognised in 2013 when she was appointed as a Senior Counsel.
“Ms Wass’ replaces his Honour Judge Richard Cogswell SC, recently appointed as President of the Mental Health Review Tribunal.
“I congratulate Judge Cogswell on his appointment to this important role providing vital oversight of the mental health system in NSW.”
Since being admitted to the Bar in 2000, Ms Wass has maintained a diverse civil and criminal practice, appearing regularly in the District Court, Supreme Court, and the state’s highest appeal courts. She also has taken matters to the Federal Court and High Court.
Ms Wass has prosecuted on behalf of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and other NSW Government agencies and represented defendants in jury trials and on appeal.
Since 2014 she sat as senior member of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal on its Appeal Panel and in its Occupational Division, and as member of a number of NSW Bar Association Committees. As an author, she has written legal publications on topics including the reliability of eyewitness testimony and problems with concurrent expert evidence.
Ms Wass will be sworn in as a District Court judge in April 2016.