Member Profiles

Contact Details

Mark Thomas
John Toohey Chambers

Unit 41
29 Woods Street

Tel: 0427 344 276

Mark Thomas is a barrister at John Toohey Chambers in Darwin, Northern Territory.


University of Sydney, Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Economics; winner of the JH McClemens Memorial Prize for first place in Criminology.

Year and place of first admission

1987, NSW


High Court of Australia, Supreme Court, Federal Court,  Federal Magistrate’s Court, Coroner’s Court, Magistrate’s Court, Western Australia Supreme, District and Magistrates Courts, AFL NT Tribunal

Areas of Practice

Criminal Law (trial and appeal), Administrative Law, Worksafe, disciplinary tribunals, Bail and arrest, Medical, AFL NT, child care and protection.


Secretary of the NTBA, Chairman of the Agents Licensing Board, Lieutenant in Royal Australian Navy (Res.)


  • Mark has appeared in more than 600 hearings in the Local Court in the NT and NSW; and conducted more than 100 Supreme or District Court trials in the NT and NSW respectively in a practice spanning 30 years.
  • He first practiced at the first Aboriginal Legal Service in Australia in Redfern in Sydney from 1988 to 1996 where he conducted more than 400 hearings in more than 100 Magistrates courts throughout the state including successfully defending a juvenile charged with three counts of murder
  • Later, he was a prosecutor in Prosecution Group 6, formerly Special Crime, in Sydney, which was largely dedicated to prosecuting police and high profile matters (such as John Laws) throughout NSW.
  • He has appeared in many high profile  criminal  trials in Darwin, which include the defences of  Ruzsicska, Bredhauer, Kenyon, and Manolas; and, for the Crown, the prosecution of Buttery, Malyschko and Grieve; the prosecution of Lo Castro (1) and (2); and the prosecution of Knight and Cassidy
  • He has acted in the NT Court of Criminal Appeal and Court of Appeal in several important matters which include Chin v Teague 2014, which he is a signficant administrative law matter dealing with prosecution applications for adjournments; Forrester, which dealt with a lacuna in drink driving legislation; R v A, which dealt with sexual assault of a child;  Knight and Cassidy (for the prosecution), which clarified the law in relation to common purpose; Chenhall v Mosel (2013), which dealt with the inferences to be drawn from lies; Malyschko, Buttery and Grieve (2013), which dealt, inter alia with the interplay between murder and mandatory sentencing law in the NT
  • He has appeared (and continues to appear)  for Worksafe NT in a number of prosecutions involving deaths in the workplace -including the death of a child at a school (NT Christian Schools 2017); and the death of a child in a motor mechanic’s shop (Gibbo’s Tyres-2017)
  • He was a Senior Crown Prosecutor in the DPP in Darwin from 2007-11 where he prosecuted numerous homicide, sexual assault, motor vehicle death and drug cases.
  • He represented the church authority in the Federal Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse (case 17: Retta Dixon) in 2015, which was of national, historical significance regarding Aboriginal stolen generation issues. He also appeared for the church authority in the class action that followed the Royal Commission, which was only the second of its type in Australia, and which was resolved.
  • He has acted as counsel assisting the NT Coroner in numerous matters involving issues of medical negligence (Hampel),  motor vehicle licensing regulatory matters involving elderly drivers (Wilton); consequences of protracted drug abuse (Walsh); and Aboriginal coronial disease issues
  • He was counsel for the Commonwealth in the prosecution of Malden (2013) , which was the first prosecution under new legislation established pursuant to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.
  • He has appeared in prominent human rights matters, including acting for a child known as Baby Asha, who was the subject of a successful challenge to a Commonwealth action to detain her in Nauru and who was permitted, in 2016, to remain in Australia. He also provided some assistance to the family of a journalist imprisoned in Egypt in 2014 on baseless criminal charges.
  • He has appeared as counsel for a person known as JD for three years, who is gaoled indefinitely (subject to periodic review), not as a consequence of conviction on any charge, but rather under the Serious Sex Offenders Act
  • He has appeared for numerous asylum seeker clients, some of whom were connected to the significant High Court case of M68 v Commonwealth of Australia, which was dealt with in late 2015.
  • He has also acted in the AFL NT tribunal at first instance and on appeal
  • He was the trial prosecutor in the case of MFA v R in NSW which went on appeal to the High Court and became a significant case concerning mixed verdicts of guilty/not guilty (2002) 213 CLR  606.
  • He has acted as counsel assisting the Agents Licensing Board in administrative law matters involving strata title breaches.


  • Literature, travel, art, hypersonic aircraft, film, music, swimming, AFL (Swans).
  • Special interest – Long distance cycling: including Lhasa in Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal on one of the highest roads in the world; Jerusalem to Cairo via Sharm El Sheikh;  trans Israel (ie north -south incl. Jericho); trans UK (John O’Groats to Lands End); trans Australia twice, after being run over by a car on the first attempt (4,213 km ); Mandalay to Maymo, Burma (short ride but the hottest at 45 degrees).