The West

The prosecutor: John Agius
John Agius

In the 35 years since John Agius joined the bar in 1977, he has collected enough weighty cases to render him an expert in the court-room battle for justice.

But, more importantly, it is the type of roles the Sydney-based silk has taken on that prove him a formidable opponent.

His is a CV that warns anyone against underestimating the white-haired, straight-mannered barrister.

Mr Agius grilled burly union heavyweights while assisting a royal commission in 2002 into alleged corruption in the building industry.

He interrogated high-level politicians and bureaucrats during the 2006 inquiry into the UN oil-for-food scandal that hit the Australian Wheat Board.

But it is Mr Agius’ stint as counsel assisting the 1990s Wood Royal Commission into NSW police corruption that garnered most public attention.

His role in exposing corrupt senior police with their fingers in the Kings Cross underworld saw him included as a character in the Australian TV series Underbelly: The Golden Mile.

The silk, who is perhaps more widely known for his inquiry and commission roles than prosecutions, administers sharp, strategic blows to his targets with a simple, poker-face delivery.

His skill does not come to WA without a cost. Previously published estimates of pay for the barrister, who was appointed senior counsel in 1995, quote his daily rate in the thousands of dollars.

All eyes are on Mr Agius again as he prosecutes one of the WA’s biggest murder trials and locks horns with Mr Rayney’s defence counsel David Edwardson.

The West Australian

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