Brian Ross Martin

Brian Ross Martin AO, QC (born 2 September 1947) is an Australian jurist. He was a judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia before being appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory in 2004. He served in the Northern Territory between 2004 and 2010. He served as an acting Judge of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 2012.[1] In legal texts, he is referred to as "Martin (BR) CJ" to avoid confusion with his predecessor.

Brian Martin

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
In office
1997  February 1999 (1999-02)
Judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia
In office
23 February 1999  27 January 2004
Chief Justice of the Northern Territory
In office
27 January 2004  2010
Preceded byBrian Frank Martin
Succeeded byTrevor Riley
Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of Western Australia
In office
February 2012  November 2012
Royal Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Juvenile Detention in the Northern Territory
Assumed office
28 July 2016 (2016-07-28)
Nominated byPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull MP
Appointed byGovernor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove
Personal details
Brian Ross Martin

(1947-09-02) 2 September 1947
Adelaide, South Australia
Alma materUniversity of Adelaide
ProfessionLawyer; Jurist


Martin was born in Adelaide and was educated at the Oakbank Area School and the Adelaide High School before studying at the University of Adelaide.

Brian Ross Martin was admitted to practise law in 1970, becoming an assistant Crown Prosecutor in Adelaide in 1974 and eventually the Senior Crown Prosecutor in 1982. He was appointed as a Queen's Counsel (QC) in 1984 and in 1991 was appointed Senior Counsel assisting the Royal Commission into WA Inc. Martin was appointed as the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in 1997 a position he held until taking up his appointment as a Judge of the South Australian Supreme Court. He was sworn in as the Northern Territory's fifth Chief Justice on 27 January 2004 following the retirement of Brian Frank Martin; and held the position until 2010.[2]

Justice Martin was the trial judge for the trial of R v Murdoch, which commenced with a voir dire in April 2005 and the trial proper began on 17 October 2005, and was completed with a verdict of guilty on 13 December 2005. He also presided over the Snowtown murder cases involving the conviction of John Bunting, Robert Wagner, and James Vlassakis for murder, and Mark Haydon for helping to dispose of the bodies. The trial was one of the longest and most publicised in Australian legal history.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

In February 2012, Brian Martin was sworn in as an Acting Judge of the Western Australian Supreme Court, to preside over the trial of Lloyd Rayney who was charged with the August 2007 murder of his wife, Corryn Rayney.[8] Martin delivered his verdict in November 2012.[9]

In July 2016, he was appointed as the Royal Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Juvenile Detention in the Northern Territory, after the ABC Four Corners program "Australia's Shame" was broadcast.[10][2] Martin resigned four days later, saying that "rightly or wrongly, in this role I would not have the full confidence of sections of the Indigenous community which has a vital interest in this inquiry."[11]

Other interests

Martin played 63 games, kicking 68 goals for Sturt Football Club in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL). He played in two SANFL premierships for the Double Blues.[12] He was a Director of the Adelaide Crows Football Club from 1994 to 1998 and was Chairman of the Westminster School Council from 1988 to 1996.


  1. Doran, Matthew; Anderson, Stephanie (28 July 2016). "Royal commission into NT youth detention to investigate possible human rights breaches". ABC News. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  2. Coogan, Michael (28 July 2016). "Brian Martin QC: Meet the man who will head the NT youth detention royal commission". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  3. Hull, Tony (8 September 2003). "Snowtown killers likely to die in jail". Lateline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 18 December 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  4. Debelle, Penelope (9 September 2003). "Sadists get life". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  5. "Bodies-in-barrels trial not over". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 19 December 2004. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  6. "Snowtown killers 'cooked victim's flesh'". ABC News. Australia. 19 September 2005. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  7. "Final Snowtown murder charge dropped". ABC News. Australia. 7 May 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  8. "Supreme Court judge appointed for Rayney trial". ABC News. Australia. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  9. "Lloyd Rayney found not guilty of murder". ABC News. Australia. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  10. Turnbull, Malcolm (28 July 2016). "Royal Commission into the Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Government of the Northern Territory" (Press release). Canberra: Australian Government. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  11. "Royal commissioner resigns four days after being appointed by PM". 1 August 2016.
  12. Reporter: Mike Sexton (17 October 2003). "Adelaide's Brian Martin Now Chief Justice of the Northern Territory". Stateline. Adelaide. ABC TV. Transcript.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Brian Frank Martin
Chief Justice of the Northern Territory
Succeeded by
Trevor Riley
Preceded by
Michael Rozenes
Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
Succeeded by
Damian Bugg
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