Solicitor Alex Wilson will never accept the deaths of her clients, Bali Nine members Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Alex Wilson, a solicitor and Partner at Lethbridges Barristers & Solicitors, was mid-air on a flight back to Melbourne when she found out her clients, Bali Nine members Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, had been executed.
“That afternoon we decided that we would leave…before the executions because there was nothing more that could be done and we flew back to Melbourne,” Wilson told Jenny Brockie on Insight.
Wilson, along with Michael O'Connell, who was one of the barristers working on the case, and a team of others, had been in Indonesia desperately trying to find a last ditch attempt that would save Chan and Sukumaran’s lives.
The case, which Wilson desribes as more of a political case rather than a legal one, has had a lasting impact on her.
“It was devastating and it was devastating for everyone involved,” she tells Insight.
“That they became a political football and it's just devastating that that outcome occurred.”
She describes the Indonesian justice system as anything but just.
What made the case even harder for Wilson was how “truly reformed” Chan and Sukumaran were.
“The thing that I saw was that the Indonesian prison system gave those boys an opportunity to reform and they did that and they went above and beyond,” she says.
“Better than any reform that I've seen in an Australian gaol, far better.
“And the fact that that stood for absolutely nothing was what was so devastating and coming back to Australia and back to your everyday cases in the courts here, you're really thankful for the system that we've got, you really are.”
Holding back tears Wilson also describes the emotion of dealing with not only the death of the men but also their families.
“So it's not just the clients, it's also their families that are going through this incredible trauma as well and so you do, you do form a connection with your clients and their families,” she says.
But she doubts she will ever have another case like this again.
In 2016 Alex was awarded the Law Institute of Victoria, Access to Justice Award in recognition of her ongoing pro-bono work for the two men.
She has also since joined the board of Reprieve Australia which arranges for volunteer lawyers and interns to provide legal and humanitarian assistance to activists, lawyers, and prisoners in the USA, SE Asia, and potentially elsewhere, as stated on their website.
Their vision is to see “a world without the death penalty”.