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Lumen Summer 2016 Issue
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From cricket pitch to the courts

Adam Kimber

Adam Kimber SC
It was not the law library but the University Oval where you would normally find senior prosecuting counsel Adam Kimber SC during his years at the University of Adelaide.

The current South Australian Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) loves his sport, particularly cricket, and it kept him on the pitch in his spare time, playing in three A grade premierships for the AU Blacks.

Adam’s decision to study law was neither a lifelong dream nor a passion, but one he describes as a naïve process of reasoning.

“I was of that generation, rightly or wrongly, where if you were lucky enough to do well at school, you only thought of a narrow career path in law or medicine,” he said.

“When I entered university I was very naïve about work and opportunities that existed in other fields and I remember not wanting to pursue medicine. I did law almost by default rather than any kind of grand plan.”

After graduating with a BA Jur in 1990 and an LLB (Hons) three years later, Adam started work in the Supreme Court of South Australia where he was an Associate to the late Chief Justice Len King (LLB 1951). After a short period in private practice, he was approached by former DPP, the late Paul Rofe QC (LLB 1973), who offered him a position. Adam had mixed feelings about taking up the role.

“I was interested in the role because it is a place where young practitioners do court work which they can’t do in private practice, but I was torn because the firm I was working for had been very good to me. To turn my back on that after only a couple of months wasn’t easy,” he said.

“I made the decision to leave and I haven’t looked back. I have been very fortunate in my career.”

Adam took up the role of DPP in April 2012. His office is responsible for serious criminal prosecutions destined for the District and Supreme Courts. Along with running an office of some 135 people, Adam still practices a reasonable amount of law, mainly appellant work in the Court of Criminal Appeal.

One of his many challenges is difficult conversations with victims of crime where there is no reasonable prospect of a conviction, which means the matter cannot proceed.

“When we make a decision that impacts on a victim and explain that decision to them, those conversations can be very challenging,” he said.

A talented cricket player in his youth, Adam played for the AU Blacks for 16 years and for South Australia for a brief period. Although no longer a player, Adam still enjoys a close relationship with the AU Blacks Cricket Club as its president.

“It’s a way of giving back but also a way of continuing a connection with people I respect and who are important to me.”

Adam played in three Blacks’ premierships which, at the time he started, was unheard of for a club of undergraduates who usually finished mid to bottom of the table.

“You can’t overestimate how much fun that was, what a great sense of achievement it was to be part of the group of people who achieved at that level,” he said.

However, it was the connections and friendships Adam made during his time at the club that he values most.

“I met so many people through playing sport at university who I would not have otherwise met. University sport is an incredible way to meet people from different backgrounds, different professions, different programs and it exposes you to a network of friends that you wouldn’t have otherwise connected with.”

With a demanding job and commitments as the club president, Adam has now swapped the cricket bat for golf clubs.

“In a funny way I still love the game, but I don’t have any desire to play. I spent so much of my time, both as an undergraduate and once I left university, trying to be the best player I could be that I haven’t found much enjoyment in playing socially when I can’t train and practice.”

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Story by Renée Capps


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