Lawyer in Australia’s death penalty case: ‘I’m glad to be dead’

A Melbourne lawyer who was a leading advocate for the death penalty in Australia has died after a long battle with lung cancer.

Richard Morgan, 77, was one of the country’s leading lawyers on the capital murder trial in the 1990s.

He died at his home in Melbourne’s west on Thursday.

The case of George Brandis, the man who killed two people in a Melbourne cafe in 1999, was the first of a string of death row trials to take place on Victoria’s death row since the law was changed.

Mr Morgan, a former president of the Law Society of Victoria, had been a leading defender of capital punishment.

He represented a number of death penalty appeals, including a case that ended in a hung jury in 2009.

Mr Justice John McCreery sentenced Mr Morgan to death for the murder of two people at the Westgate Cafe in Melbourne in 1999.

The men, both men in their 50s, were attacked at the restaurant by two masked men.

Mr Brandis was stabbed to death in the back of the head and a knife wound to the neck.

A jury acquitted Mr Morgan in a year-long trial.

In the 2000s, Mr Morgan was also an advocate for capital punishment in a number a cases.

In 2004, he won a high court appeal in the murder trial of convicted killer George Brandi, who was jailed for life for his crimes.

Mr Morrott was not involved in the Brandi case.

The ABC’s Victoria Law Report, which aired on Tuesday, said the death of Mr Morgan is a loss to the community.

Mr Smith, the former prosecutor, said it was a huge loss for the law society.

“I was devastated, I can’t imagine how it’s going to affect all the lawyers involved, but particularly those who were with him, who were his friends,” he said.

Mr McCreedy described Mr Morgan as a man of “exceptional character and integrity”.

“Richard was a dedicated and thoughtful man who was always at pains to seek the truth of a case and his verdicts were very judicious and fair,” he told the ABC.

“He was one who respected the law, and we will miss him terribly.”

In 2000, Mr Brandi was convicted of murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.

Mr McNeil described Mr Brandeis as a “terrible criminal”.

The former police officer, who worked with Mr Morgan on a number death penalty cases, said Mr Morgan had been an “extraordinary public servant”.

“He stood by the law and he was a wonderful lawyer,” Mr McNeill said.

Mr McNeilly said Mr Brandois had a “very long list of convictions for crimes he committed and it’s a shame he didn’t get the death he deserved.””

It was the death sentence in Victoria.”

Mr McNeilly said Mr Brandois had a “very long list of convictions for crimes he committed and it’s a shame he didn’t get the death he deserved.”