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Home / Latest News / ‘Personally, I think you’re an a—hole’: Chopper’s Christmas card to Justice Frank Vincent

‘Personally, I think you’re an a—hole’: Chopper’s Christmas card to Justice Frank Vincent

The Naked City podcast will take a journey into the dark depths of the Australian criminal underworld. In this series you will hear recordings of some of Australia’s most dangerous criminals, all of whom have been remarkably frank in their recollections.

We tend to think of judges as a privileged bunch, born with silver spoons, educated at wealthy schools and a mishandled cheese knife at the Melbourne Club the closest they ever come to danger.

Frank Vincent is entirely different. Born in 1937, his father Frank snr, was a wharfie and Waterside Workers Federation union official. His mother, Tess, was a factory worker who taught him many things, including how to tap dance.

Eventually they moved to Launceston and after Frank won a Commonwealth scholarship to Melbourne University they returned, living in Camp Pell, the former World War II army camp in Royal Park, a migrant hostel and cheap temporary housing.

He joined the Victorian Bar and with his grasp of the law and his work ethic he could have made a fortune in commercial litigation but instead he gravitated to crime.

“I was attracted to the work and had no interest in the much less demanding and considerably more lucrative role of arguing about other people’s money.”

Retired Supreme Court judge Frank Vincent oversaw an inquiry into the Open Courts Act.

Retired Supreme Court judge Frank Vincent oversaw an inquiry into the Open Courts Act.Credit:Joe Armao

Soon he was taking on murder cases and eventually he became the go-to-guy for homicide defences, doing nearly 200. They came at a cost – each is like a heavyweight fight in an emotion-filled court where someone has lost their life and the accused faces losing decades of theirs.

Appointed to the Supreme Court he heard some of Australia’s biggest criminal cases: the Russell Street bombing, the murder of two police in Walsh Street, South Yarra and the trial of Frankston serial killer Paul Denyer.

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