Queensland Law Society

President’s Medal silver lining to five-year nightmare

On Friday 21 February Queensland Law Society awarded its prestigious 2014 President’s Medal to solicitor John Sneddon for his work in freeing Australian Marcus Lee from a nightmare five years in Dubai.

Mr Sneddon worked on Mr Lee’s case pro bono, managing a successful outcome to one of Australia’s most challenging, remarkable and high profile legal matters in recent times.

Queensland Law Society president Ian Brown said Mr Sneddon was a gifted practitioner who exhibited the finest standards of professionalism and selflessness in duty.

“For five years John Sneddon applied himself to clearing the name of an innocent man, sacrificing much of his personal time after hours, on weekends and on holidays,” Mr Brown said.

“The twist for this case was it occurred in Dubai in a completely foreign judicial system and proved an emotional rollercoaster for everyone involved.”

In 2009 Marcus Lee was arrested in Dubai on what were later proved to be false allegations of fraud regarding a property sale.

Marcus was jailed pending an investigation. He spent the first two months in solitary confinement.  After six months charges were laid. In total, he spent eleven months in jail.

It was during this time that Marcus and his wife Julie reached out to John.

Marcus was placed under house arrest until his case was heard last year. He was acquitted in May.

This was followed by a Prosecutor's Appeal that was dismissed in November. Marcus and Julie finally returned home a month ago.

Mr Brown said that throughout this harrowing ordeal, John’s legal skill, intelligence, kindness, patience and endurance and his unwavering support of Marcus set him apart as an exemplar of the finest elements of the legal profession.

“He is a most deserving recipient of the 2014 President’s Medal for his outstanding contribution to the profession and access to justice, and his commitment to upholding the Rule of Law.”