Your Team

If you are accused of a criminal offence, you need a specialist criminal lawyer in your corner. With some of the most highly regarded lawyers in Sydney and Canberra, our team of criminal lawyers will provide you with comprehensive, honest and strategic advice.

Carol Younes
Partner

Sydney

t. (02) 9696 1361
m. 0404 056 777
e. carol@hugolawgroup.com.au

Carol is an Accredited Specialist in Criminal Law and founding partner of Hugo Law Group.

Since 2016 Carol has consistently been recognised as preeminent in the Doyle’s Guide for Criminal Lawyers in Sydney and Australia, ranking her in the top band of criminal lawyers in the country.

Carol appears in the superior and appellate courts in some of the most notorious criminal cases. She works tirelessly on matters representing clients charged with murder, serious sex offences, complex frauds, tax evasions, drug manufacture supply and importation, and terrorism offences. She also appears in complex hearings, sentence proceedings and bail applications.

Carol recognises the need  to always think two steps ahead and to ensure her clients are making the right decisions early on. She is best known for her persuasive advocacy, strategic thinking and determination to win every case. She understands the need to help her clients navigate their way through what is often one of the most challenging times in their life. Her clients feel supported and confident having her on their team.

Adrian McKenna
Partner

Canberra 

t. (02) 5104 9640
m. 0476 521 151
e. adrian@hugolawgroup.com.au

Adrian has worked exclusively in private practice in criminal law through his legal career. With more than a decade of experience he is a renowned expert in the field. Clients have sought out Adrian’s experience and specialised skills for some of Canberra’s most high profile and complex murder, fraud and sexual assault matters. He is a founding partner of Hugo Law Group. 

Adrian was previously an Associate to a judge of the ACT Supreme Court and worked on the defence team of Radovan Karadzic, President of the Former Bosnian-Serb Republic, at the Yugoslavia International War Crimes Tribunal. 

Adrian has been recognised as a leading lawyer in the Doyle’s Guide for Canberra Criminal Defence Lawyers. He is a member of the ACT Law Society’s Criminal Law Committee and is a regular commentator on legal reform issues. He is entrusted with representing clients facing charges amongst the most serious in the criminal calendar.

Karen Espiner
Partner

Sydney 

t. (02) 9696 1361
m. 0451 776 242
e. karen@hugolawgroup.com.au

Karen Espiner is an Accredited Specialist in Criminal Law and founding partner at Hugo Law Group. She was named Criminal Law Partner of the Year in the 2020 Lawyers Weekly Awards.  

Much of Karen’s practice is devoted to representing clients who have been charged with serious criminal offences including sexual assault, drug supply/manufacture, serious assaults and corporate offences. She appears in complicated Local/Magistrates Court matters for clients whose professional reputations are at risk. She also has a significant appellate practice, providing advice and representation to clients seeking to appeal their conviction and/or sentence from the District/Supreme Court (NSW) or Supreme Court (ACT).

Recognising the value of professional collaboration and teamwork, she works closely with other lawyers in the firm to ensure her clients receive the highest level of service. Known for her meticulous preparation and persuasive advocacy, she is well respected by other lawyers, barristers and Judges. Since 2016 she has been consistently recognised by other lawyers in the Doyle’s Guide as one of the best criminal lawyers in Sydney and Australia. 

Tom Taylor
Partner

Canberra 

t. (02) 5104 9640
m. 0401 439 363
e. tom@hugolawgroup.com.au

Tom is widely regarded as one of the most talented and successful criminal defence lawyers in Canberra and the surrounding regions. He has earnt the respect of clients, lawyers and judges through years of dedicated practice to this niche area of the law. 

With years of experience in criminal defence firms in Sydney and country NSW and through his time in the Australian Army he knows the right time to bring an aggressive approach. He has a reputation for winning the unwinnable matters and is the unquestionable lawyer of choice for clients facing a serious matter.  

Tom has a unique talent in making real connections with his clients and earning their trust. He has an impressive combination of street smarts and a fighting spirit that makes him the perfect fit for hearings and trials.

Before joining the legal profession he worked in sports management and as a professional lifeguard in Australia and Japan. Tom has been repeatedly voted as a leading lawyer in the Doyle’s Guide for Canberra Criminal Defence Lawyers.

Helen Christinson
Senior Lawyer

Sydney 

t. (02) 9696 1361
m. 0449 686 371
e. helen@hugolawgroup.com.au

Helen is an experienced advocate who brings compassion, positivity and a sharp legal mind to every matter.

In 2021 Helen was recognised by members of the profession as a Criminal Law Rising Star in the 2021 Doyle’s Guide – Sydney.

Whether appearing in bail applications, sentence matters, defended hearings or other applications in the Local Court, conviction and severity appeals in the District Court, or high-profile trial and sentence matters for State and Commonwealth offences, Helen is a detail-focused, empathetic, energised and tenacious advocate. She has a wide range of legal experience from Local Court traffic matters to complex murder trials in the Supreme Court.

Helen ensures her clients understand the nature of their charges, providing them with clear information to help them make informed choices about how to progress their matter. She is known for her succinct and effective advocacy, common-sense approach to analysing evidence and thorough preparation in support of each and every case.

Teagan Naidu
Senior Lawyer

Sydney 

t. (02) 9696 1361
m. 0410 804 944
e. teagan@hugolawgroup.com.au

Teagan is professional, friendly and understanding in her approach and takes great pride in providing an exceptional service to her clients. From the very first conference right through to the conclusion of each matter, Teagan connects with her clients, providing them with proper guidance and tailored advice. 

As an advocate, she appears in the Local and District Court on an almost daily basis. As well as managing her own busy practice, Teagan instructs some of Australia’s leading criminal barristers. She works on a range of serious criminal law matters and is known for her ability to critically analyse complex briefs and extensive legal research skills.

Teagan has regularly been ranked in the Doyle’s Guide as a Rising Star in Criminal Law. In addition to her dedication to advocacy in the court room, Teagan lecturers at various Traffic Offenders Programs across Sydney.

Stephanie Beckedahl
Senior Lawyer

Canberra 

t. (02) 5104 9640
m. 0459 957 840
e. stephanie@hugolawgroup.com.au

Stephanie started her criminal law career in NSW. Since then, she has practiced exclusively as a criminal defence lawyer in both NSW and the ACT, appearing in court on an almost daily basis. 

She is an experienced and highly skilled solicitor-advocate who is regularly called on to appear in complex criminal hearings, as well as to instruct barristers in District/Supreme Court trials involving charges such as sexual assault, drug trafficking and fraud. 

In 2021 Stephanie was recognised by members of the profession as a Recommended Criminal Defence Lawyer in the 2021 Doyle’s Guide – Canberra

Stephanie is a fierce advocate who works doggedly for her clients both inside and out of the courtroom. Keen to always achieve the best possible outcomes for her clients, she has a history of success running contested hearings, particularly in matters where she is advancing technical and legal arguments. She tailors her approach for every client, understanding that each case is unique and each client has different needs and expectations.

Damien Mahon
Senior Lawyer

Sydney 

t. (02) 9696 1361
m. 0410 883 533
e. damien@hugolawgroup.com.au

Damien provides representation and advice in all areas of State and Commonwealth criminal law. As a confident and proficient advocate, Damien has demonstrated success acting in a diverse range of matters including murder and offences of violence, terrorism offences, sexual assault, drug offences, fraud and white-collar crime.

Damien has successfully defended a large volume of contested matters. He has a strong understanding of the rules of evidence and subjects all material relied upon by the prosecution to a high level of scrutiny.

In sentence matters, Damien has an aptitude for identifying mitigating factors and extenuating circumstances which are favourable to his clients and promote the need for leniency and rehabilitation in place of punishment.

Damien has a genuine passion for criminal defence law. He provides timely, clear and considered advice and works tenaciously to obtain positive results for his clients.

Priyanka Koci
Lawyer

Canberra 

t. (02) 5104 9640
m. 0459 953 234
e. priyanka@hugolawgroup.com.au

Priyanka’s dedication to criminal law started as an intern at the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) and North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA). She has practiced exclusively in criminal law since becoming a lawyer.

In 2021 Priyanka was recognised by members of the profession as a Criminal Law Rising Star in the 2021 Doyle’s Guide – Canberra.

Priyanka’s empathetic nature and high attention to detail means she brings a calm and pragmatic approach to her client’s matters, doing everything she can to ensure they receive the best results possible. She appears in the ACT Magistrates and Childrens Courts in sentence matters, defended hearings and bail applications. She also instructs well-regarded barristers in the ACT Supreme Court for more serious offences. 

Priyanka is a well-respected advocate with a busy practice. She not only compellingly tells her clients’ stories, but also persuasively crafts her legal arguments for maximum impact. She uses her previous experience working with at-risk groups, as well as her studies in psychology, to bring a deeper understanding to her clients’ needs.

Meg Connell
Lawyer

Sydney 

t. (02) 9696 1361
m. 0420 417 207
e. meg@hugolawgroup.com.au

Meg prides herself on giving a voice to clients in a complex legal system. Her genuine and compassionate nature make her an advocate that clients feel comfortable with and confident in. 

Meg has experience in NSW Local, District and Supreme Court matters. She acts for clients charged with a wide range of criminal offences including drug possession/supply, assaults, resist police, sexual assault and firearm offences. She also acts in traffic matters including drink driving and licence appeals, as well as in defended AVO proceedings. 

Meg knows that a person’s challenges in life are relevant to any court matter and is particularly experienced in supporting clients who have a mental illness or disability. 

As an advocate, Meg is well prepared and persuasive. She regularly receives positive feedback from Magistrates, barristers and clients. Her desire to exceed expectations means she is constantly achieving the best possible outcome for her clients.

Jack Johnson
Lawyer

Canberra 

t. (02) 5104 9640
m. 0459 956 259
e. jack@hugolawgroup.com.au

Jack is a passionate criminal defence advocate who fights for the best outcomes for his clients. He believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to have their case heard and fought for. Jack is a keen listener with a client-centred and personal approach to criminal law. 

Prior to his admission, Jack worked for three years as a paralegal at the Aboriginal Legal Service where he was involved in a diverse range of matters including trials and appeals. He has developed a deep knowledge of the criminal law and the techniques of defence advocacy. 

Jack is a deep and critical thinker who has the ability synthesise complex and varied information. He brings with him a creative and cross-disciplinary approach to criminal defence work that he uses to achieve the best outcomes for clients. He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws/Arts (Hons) from the Australian National University. 

Max Haesler
Lawyer

Canberra

t. (02) 5104 9640
m. 0459 952 484
e. max@hugolawgroup.com.au

Max’s legal career began as an advice worker in the community legal sector. It was in this role that he developed a passion for ensuring that the rights and interests of his clients were properly protected.

Before joining Hugo Law Group Max’s experience in criminal law began in his role as an Associate to a judge of the ACT Supreme Court. Working in that role for 18 months, he has a detailed insight into court process and advocacy. He holds a Juris Doctor at the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Health Science. This gives him the edge in complex criminal matters involving medical evidence.

Max has a keen eye for detail, meticulous research skills, and a paramount focus on achieving the best possible outcome in court. As an advocate he dedicates his practice to ensuring each of his matters is dealt with fairly and impartially.

Umar Ikram
Law Graduate

Sydney 

t. (02) 9696 1361
e. umar@hugolawgroup.com.au

Umar completed his Juris Doctor at the University of Sydney in 2020 and has a keen interest and passion for criminal law.

As a law graduate, Umar provides timely, diligent, and proficient legal assistance to senior lawyers and partners on a range of complex criminal law matters. 

Prior to joining Hugo Law Group, Umar completed an internship at the International Criminal Court, a placement at the office of the Public Defenders (NSW) and was a Legal Support Officer in the Commonwealth Crimes Unit of Legal Aid NSW. In those roles he worked on a range of matters involving persons charged with drug offences, sexual assault, terrorism offences and other serious state and commonwealth crimes. These experiences have given him a unique perspective and skill set which he applies daily to his work at Hugo Law Group.

Umar is best known for his attention to detail, a client-oriented approach, and an ability to identify key legal issues. 

Thomas Tiffen
Paralegal

Canberra 

t. (02) 5104 9640
e. thomas@hugolawgroup.com.au

With studies in both criminology and criminal law Thomas has a deep understanding of what makes people tick in this industry. 

He has legal experience that covers a wide variety of criminal and protection matters and so he knows what is important when it comes to your case. He has many years’ management experience in the hospitality industry and his calming presence is a valuable asset to Hugo Law Group. He is soon to finalise his law degree with Honours.

Jen Magin
Sydney Office Manager

Sydney 

t. (02) 9696 1361
e. jen@hugolawgroup.com.au

As our Sydney Office Manager, Jen Magin plays an integral role in the day to day running of the Sydney office and provides support to the partners, lawyers and admin team. 

Prior to starting her career at Hugo Law Group Jen was an office manager for a construction company.  

She is empathetic to the stressors our clients face and understands the important role each team member has in assisting our clients through the legal process. With Jen making sure everything is running smoothly behind the scenes, our lawyers are able to get on with the important tasks at hand. 

Kathy Reis
Canberra Office Manager

Canberra 

t. (02) 5104 9640
e. kathy@hugolawgroup.com.au

As Office Manager in Canberra, Kathy is the workhorse of the firm, who ensures that Hugo Law Group runs a smooth, effective and efficient operation.  

She has had a long and varied career including managing and operating a small business in Queensland and years in executive roles in the legal industry.

Kathy’s experience means she brings a wealth of knowledge, skill, and know-how. Kathy is an integral member of the firm supporting our staff and ensuring that we provide an excellent level of service to our clients.

Livia Bellino
Legal Secretary

Sydney 

t. (02) 9696 1361
e. livia@hugolawgroup.com.au

Livia has worked as an Administrative Assistant and Legal Secretary in criminal defence law since 2016.

Over the years Livia has gained experience assisting lawyers who are working on a range of criminal law matters.

She is passionate about supporting people facing difficult times in their lives, exhibiting real empathy and understanding. Such is her interest in the field that she is currently completing a Bachelor of Criminology and Law.

Sanyi Vadasz-Hynes
Office Assistant

Canberra 

t. (02) 5104 9640
e. sanyi@hugolawgroup.com.au

Sanyi is a hardworking and energetic office assistant. He plays a vital role in assisting our lawyers with administrative support on a day-to-day basis.

With him by their side, our lawyers can focus their energy on the critical legal task at hand. 

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

I would like to thank Damien for making this difficult and stressful times so much easier by his wealth of knowledge and helping me through this difficult time. When I first met Damien he made me feel very comfortable and confident he can deliver a good result, which he did. I am very glad I met the right lawyer to handle my case. Thank you for all your efforts and support. Kind Regards,

MK

Hi Meg, Just wanted to say thank you again for your representation of me this morning, it is a big relief to have received the outcome we did and not having to had to fight it and cost ourselves financially / mentally. Also please send thanks to Karen – I am lucky to have you both take care of the matter which has been hard on the heart to re-enter Manly courts and provide C and myself with the most clarity on our options.

AV

We know first-hand just how brilliant your entire team are. The support & representation we received from your entire team & the court room representation provided by Teagan Naidu is all that kept us going throughout two very long hard years & ultimately won our case giving us the absolute best outcome we could have hoped for.

EA + JK

Many thanks again for your thorough attention and assistance in achieving the positive conclusion this week. I am truly grateful for the prompt, professional and diligent effort that all of you provided, and for having taken over the matter with a relatively short time to prepare.

TK about Helen Christinson

Karen, Thank you for your professionalism, hard work, support, advice and care for my court matter. The result yesterday was the best possible outcome and I am still pinching myself. The frightful and emotionally-charged nature of this case, for me, found great solitude in your listening ears and you collected the best possible material to support the section 32 application. I truly appreciate your diligent preparation and the ability to fight what seemed like a lost cause.

A.V. (September 2018)

Hi Carol, Thanks for your outstanding work throughout the whole process, I never doubted your work or advice.  The whole experience certainly opened my eyes and mind to say the least and has changed the way I look at people and things. I was totally speechless at the end so apologies if I didn’t show much gratitude. Thank you very very much

C.F.

Dear Tom. Thanks for being real and non-judgmental and supportive. You have changed my life in so many ways and I’m so grateful.

EL

I made contact with Adrian McKenna who successfully represented me. I was very impressed with Adrian. He was clear and concise in all our communication. At our initial meeting he outline what he could do to assist, what the possible outcomes might be and what the costs would be. He was thorough in his preparation and prompt in returning calls and sending copies of correspondence.

JV

Priyanka is a great lawyer and person – I would highly recommend her services, and your law firm, to anyone who asks. Thank you for absolutely everything, you have made this entire experience so much easier.