Terms of Reference

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ELIZABETH THE SECOND, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth:


The Honourable Justice John Sackar


By these our Letters Patent, made and issued in Our name by Our Governor on the advice of the Executive Council and under the authority of the Special Commissions of Inquiry Act 1983 (NSW) and every other enabling power, We hereby authorise you as Commissioner to inquire into and report and make recommendations to Our Governor of the said State on:

  1. The manner and cause of death in all cases that remain unsolved from the 88 deaths or suspected deaths of men potentially motivated by gay hate bias that were considered by Strike Force Parrabell.
  2. The manner and cause of death in all unsolved suspected hate crime deaths in New South Wales that occurred between 1970 and 2010 where:
    1. the victim was a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community; and
    2. the death was the subject of a previous investigation by the NSW Police Force.

AND hereby establish a Special Commission of Inquiry for this purpose .

AND We direct you, in conducting the inquiry, to have regard to:

  1. The findings of previous inquiries and reports, including:
    1. the interim and final report and findings of the inquiries conducted by the Standing Committee on Social Issues into Gay and Transgender hate crimes between 1970 and 2010;
    2. the report and findings of Strike Force Parrabell; and
    3. the AIDS Council of New South Wales report, In Pursuit of Truth and Justice (2018).

AND We direct you, in conducting the inquiry:

  1. to establish such arrangements as the Commissioner considers appropriate for evidence and information, including the testimony of witnesses in current and previous inquiries, to be shared with the inquiry in a manner that avoids unnecessary duplication and minimises trauma to witnesses;
  2. to operate in a way that avoids prejudice to criminal investigations, any current or future criminal prosecutions, and any other contemporaneous inquires; and
  3. that the Commissioner is not required to inquire, or to continue to inquire, into a particular matter to the extent that the Commissioner is satisfied that the matter has been or will be sufficiently and appropriately dealt with by another inquiry or investigation or a criminal or civil proceeding.

AND pursuant to section 21 of the Special Commissions of Inquiry Act 1983 (NSW) it is hereby declared that sections 22, 23 and 24 shall apply to and in respect of the Special Commission issued to you by Our Letters Patent.

AND OUR further will and pleasure is that, on or before 18 December 2023, you deliver your final report in writing of the results of your inquiry to the offices of the Premier and Our Governor in Sydney.

IN WITNESS , We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent and the Public Seal of Our State to be hereunto affixed.

WITNESS Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley, Companion of the Order of Australia, Queen's Counsel, Governor of the State of New South Wales in the Commonwealth of Australia.

Dated this 13th day of April 2022 [amended 5 December 2023].

Governor of NSW

By Her Excellency's Command

Premier of NSW