With over 40 years of experience as a barrister Tom Gyorffy QC appears in criminal trials and has an extensive practice in the appellate jurisdictions of the High Court and Court of Appeal. He is known for his careful analysis of cases, thinking outside the square and a very focused presentation of cases in court.
Tom returned to his practice at the Bar, for the second time, in July 2015 after 26 years as Crown Prosecutor. Since his return, Tom has continued an extensive practice in the Criminal Law appearing for both the Prosecution and the Defence in committals, trials and appeals. Tom’s experience as a Crown Prosecutor has taught him what it takes to successfully run a prosecution case. That knowledge also helps him to find any flaws in a prosecution case, an important skill in running a case for the defence.
He also appears in administrative law cases and confiscation matters.
Prior to his recent return to the private Bar, in August 1989 Tom was appointed as a Prosecutor for the Queen where he practised almost exclusively in the criminal law. As a prosecutor he appeared in hundreds of trials including about 120 murder cases. He also worked extensively in Occupational Health and Safety and Confiscation cases which allowed him to continue to apply his experience in civil law.
Since 1990 Tom has had an extensive appellate practice appearing in the Court of Appeal and High Court. A search of his name in AustLII reveals just how extensive that practice is. The Victorian and Commonwealth law reports contain a huge number of cases in which he has appeared. Many of them are important precedents including; Masciantonio (1995) which redefined the law of provocation in Victoria, Getachew (2012) which redefined the mental element of rape, and Baini (2012) which defined the test for appeal against conviction on indictable offences. Tom has also appeared in many Judicial Reviews in the Supreme Court.
From 1984 until 1987 and prior to assuming the position of Crown Prosecutor, Tom took leave of absence from the Victorian Bar on his appointment as Assistant Director of the Policy and Research Unit of the Law Department. As the Assistant Director Tom gave policy advice to the then Attorney General and also did extensive work on the Attorney’s legislative program. Some of the major legislation he worked on included the Supreme Court Act, Coroner’s Act, Mental Health Act and Guardianship Act.
Tom was the Attorney General’s representative on The Consultative Committee on Police Powers chaired by John Coldrey QC. In that capacity, he helped to draft the reports of the Committee on “Custody and Investigation”, “Fingerprinting” and “Body Samples” which form the basis of the current police powers found in the Crimes Act. He was also Director of Research for the Sentencing Committee chaired by Sir John Starke QC. The Committee’s report was the basis of the current Sentencing Act.
Tom’s interest in forensic science issues has continued throughout his career. In April 2017, Tom presented a CPD seminar entitled “CSI: fact or fiction” as part of the Victorian Bar’s CPD program. Additionally, Tom regularly delivers papers on Economic Crime and art fraud at the annual Symposium on Economic Crime a Cambridge University, UK. He has been on panels examining art fraud from a forensic science perspective.
In 1987 Tom returned to the Victorian Bar and resumed practice as a barrister. He worked in commercial law torts and crime. He was appointed a part time chair of the inaugural Mental Review Board and over the time of his appointment chaired many review panels.
In 1999 to 2000 Tom was principal counsel assisting the Coroner in the inquest into the Linton Wildfire. The inquest went over 118 days and resulted in an extensive report which substantially changed the culture of fire fighters in the CFA and DSE. It gave recommendations introducing a strong adherence to OH&S principles in firefighting.
Tom is a contributing author to Criminal Law Investigation and Procedure Victoria edited by Freckelton. He writes on Dishonesty Offences and Juries.
In 2005 Tom was elected to Macedon Ranges Shire Council. During that time, he developed an interest in planning laws having sat on many applications for planning permits.
Tom has also been appointed a Director of two corporations, giving him a wealth of experience in corporate governance.
Tom graduated in law from Melbourne University in March 1977 and was admitted to practice in Victoria in November 1977 when he commenced as a solicitor in the suburbs. In April 1979 Tom signed the Bar Roll and read with Kevin Mahony.
Tom was appointed silk in November 2011.