Former police prosecutors Wayne Law and Cameron Smith have left the force to set up shop as lawyers just across the road from their former workplace, Kogarah Police Station.
This month they opened their new law firm, Law & Smith Criminal Lawyers where they are using their 25 years of combined police experience to assist clients.
And while it is just a few steps across Montgomery Street, Kogarah from the police station to their new offices, it is a world apart from their old job.
“Now we are defending those we previously prosecuted,” Cameron said.
“Some police refer to the defence as the dark side,” he said.
“They may say we have joined the dark side. I like to say that we are levelling the playing field in court. Police have huge resources behind them to prosecute a case.
“You can see the disparity. So it will be good to be on the other side and level it out.”
Wayne and Cameron hope to bring their skills and knowledge gained as police officers and prosecutors to the wider community.
Apart from criminal and traffic law, they are practising family law and wills and probate.
Both have lifelong personal ties with St George and Sutherland Shire.
Wayne was the first Police Prosecutor of Chinese descent in the history of the NSW Police Force.
He was born in Hong Kong and came to Australia at age five, growing up in Kingsgrove.
Wayne was a general duties police officer at Sydney Central, then as a detective for six years before joining State Crime in the Asian Crime Squad for two years while finishing his law degree.
He then worked as a Police Prosecutor for eight years before leaving the force in September to start Law & Smith Criminal Lawyers.
Cameron had already obtained his law degree when he joined the Police Force and did a year as a general duties police officer in Surry Hills before becoming a Police Prosecutor for eight years before deciding to start Law & Smith.
Wayne said, “We have sound knowledge of police policies and practices and we can make sure they comply with the law in gathering evidence.”
Cameron added, “We can bring our inside skills and knowledge to ensure the evidence they use in court has been legally and properly obtained according the the law.”
Both Wayne and Cameron live in Sutherland Shire but felt that by opening an office in Kogarah they will be accessible to a wider cross-section of the community.
Wayne can speak Cantonese and Mandarin. They have both worked at Sutherland and Kogarah Police Stations and Wayne was also Senior Prosecutor at Burwood Police Station.
Cameron said, “As police prosecutors we were operating in this area. I was assigned as a Police Prosecutor to Kogarah Police Station giving legal advice to police. Now we have crossed to the other side of the road and the other side of the bar table.”
They believe their experience as Police Prosecutors carries a wealth of experience.
“As a Police Prosecutor I could prepare up to 10 hearings a day for court,” Cameron said.
“Some solicitors may run two or three hearings a week but we can run two or three a day.”
Wayne said, “Just because we swapped sides doesn’t mean we have lost any of court skills or legal knowledge.
“It’s like soccer. Ronaldo swapped from Real Madrid to Juventus FC and he’s still scoring goals.
“Just like him, we know the tactics of the other side.”
Law & Smith are located at 24 Montgomery Street, Kogarah.