Communities and Justice

Two new Sentencing Council members appointed

21 February 2024

Attorney General Michael Daley today announced the appointment of two new members to the NSW Sentencing Council, Melissa Burgess and Adam Hennessy.

Ms Burgess is committed to delivering reform to create better outcomes for Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system and brings a strategic, collaborative and results-driven approach to the Sentencing Council.

For the past 17 years she has worked in the criminal justice system as a solicitor with the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) and Legal Aid NSW, including as Deputy Director of the Criminal Law Division since 2022.

Ms Burgess has been appointed to the statutory position of member with expertise or experience in Aboriginal justice matters.

Throughout his career Mr Hennessy has been dedicated to addressing the unique challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and is committed to promoting fairness in the criminal justice system.

For the past decade he has worked in a range of areas, including state and federal public sectors, mental health and academia. Prior to that, Mr Hennessy worked with NSW Police for thirteen years as a lecturer and program coordinator teaching students and running training courses.

Mr Hennessy has been appointed to the statutory position of member representing the general community.

The Sentencing Council advises the Attorney General on sentencing matters, including undertaking consultation and reporting on issues referred to it by the Attorney General and providing an Annual Report on sentencing trends and practices. It comprises 16 members with diverse experience, including judicial officers, prosecutors, criminal defence lawyers, police, victims’ advocates and members of the community.

The appointments follow a public recruitment process in 2023 and both members will serve for three years.

For more information on the Sentencing Council, visit

Quotes attributable to Attorney General Michael Daley:

“I would like to congratulate Ms Burgess and Mr Hennessy on their appointments to the Sentencing Council.

“The Sentencing Council plays a vital role in delivering justice in NSW and both individuals will bring a rich range of skills and experience to their positions. I would like to thank them for joining the Sentencing Council.”

Last updated:

21 Feb 2024

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