Meet our Team

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At Sydney Drug Lawyers, we pride ourselves on being Sydney’s best drug defence team.

Our specialist drug defence lawyers are passionate about the law and possess the experience and expertise to defend all types of drug charges – and in many cases get charges dropped before they even reach court.

Our lawyers have exceptional courtroom skills and an excellent rapport with members of the legal profession, enabling us to consistently get the best results for our clients.

We fight for justice in cases that other lawyers have deemed ‘unwinnable,’ often helping our clients to avoid a criminal record.

Our team currently comprises seven expert drug lawyers, each of whom possesses a wealth of experience in order to ensure that our valued clients get the level of service that they deserve.

So whether you’ve been charged with small possession or commercial drug importation, look no further.

Give us a call on 02 9264 5778 now and speak to us about a FREE first consultation to discuss your matter.

Ugur Nedim

Mr Ugur Nedim is the Principal of Sydney Criminal Lawyers®.

He has a distinguished career as an exceptional criminal defence lawyer and has been recognised by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist for since 2005.

Mr Nedim commenced his criminal defence career in 1992 as a law clerk with specialist criminal law firm Brezniak Neil-Smith and Co, under the mentorship of legendary criminal defence lawyer Angus Neil-Smith (now retired).

He excelled academically – completing a combined Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Arts degree, then a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and finally a Master of Laws degree at Sydney University achieving a rare ‘high distinction’ grade average.

He commenced practising as a courtroom criminal defence lawyer in late 1998; independently representing clients in a range of criminal & traffic cases.

He regularly conducted difficult & complex defended hearings, trials and appeals, achieving an outstanding success rate.

He started ‘Nedim Lawyers – Criminal Defence Specialists’ in 2001, which later became ‘Sydney Criminal Lawyers®’.

Mr Nedim has represented clients in some of Australia’s highest profile and most difficult criminal cases, including:

  • Australia’s largest ever heroin importation trial, which involved the importation of over 600 kg of heroin; all 3 clients found ‘not guilty’.
  • Over two dozen murder & manslaughter trials, including many arising from the ‘gangland wars’ in Western Sydney;
  • Over 100 serious criminal trials including dozens of sexual assault trials, commercial drug trials, complex fraud trials, grievous bodily harm, robbery, detain for advantage, intent to murder, dangerous driving occasioning death, proceeds of crime and various other trial matters;
  • Representing companies and individuals for allegations of corporate crime and investigations, anti money laundering, bribery and other forms of corruption, fraud and ‘white collar’ crime,
  • Protecting client interests in all types of courts and tribunals, including ICAC, Crime Commission & Coroner’s Court;
  • Successful Appeals at every level – from the Local Court, to hundreds in the District & Supreme Courts (including NSWCCA) all the way up to the High Court of Australia.

Mr Nedim is a dedicated, knowledgeable and persuasive criminal lawyer who is respected by magistrates, judges and prosecutors.

He fights hard to have cases ‘dropped’ and is consistently able to defend and win serious criminal cases that other criminal lawyers are unable to win (see Recent Cases).

Mr Nedim has conducted 4000+ local court cases over his career, with a particular emphasis on:

  • drink driving and major traffic offences,
  • drug possession & supply,
  • assaults and AVOs,
  • fraud & dishonesty offences, and
  • defended hearings, committal hearings, guilty pleas, bail applications and mental health cases.

However, he now focuses on serious and complex crime, with a special emphasis on corporate crime and investigations, large-scale fraud, commercial drug importation and supply, and murder/manslaughter cases.

Mr Nedim is a true specialist because he has always practised as a criminal defence lawyer – not a prosecutor, general lawyer or commercial lawyer, which have little relevance to high quality criminal defence work. Over and above this, he has independently carried his cases from start to finish since the start of his legal career – undertaking advocacy (courtroom) work where other lawyers may need the assistance of others.

Mr Nedim has developed specialised procedures, methods and techniques to achieve desirable outcomes for his corporate and individual clients.

He is respected for his ability to grasp large volumes of complex material, identify the relevant issues and formulate winning strategies, and his high-quality work is consistently praised by magistrates, judges and clients alike.

With Mr Nedim, clients can rest assured of receiving the best defence whatever their particular criminal or traffic case may be.

Vinny Vijay

Vinny Vijay is a Senior Associate with several years of experience practising exclusively in criminal defence.

He is a highly sought-after and respected defence lawyer who is vastly experienced in courtroom advocacy at all levels of the criminal justice system.

Throughout his career, Vinny has regularly appeared independently in a broad range of criminal cases, including:

  • Complex Local Court defended hearings,
  • Bail applications in the Local, District and Supreme Courts,
  • Sentencing proceedings in the Local and District Courts,
  • Mental health applications such as section 14 applications (previously known as ‘section 32 applications’), fitness hearings and the defence of mental impairment, and
  • All manner of appeals, from licence appeals in the Local Court, to firearms reviews in the NCAT, to severity and conviction appeals in the District Court and New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal.

Vinny is also vastly experienced in preparing and instructing counsel in jury trials, from commercial drug cases, to aggravated sexual assaults, manslaughter and murder.

He has substantial experience in successfully representing clients in pre-trial applications such as forensic procedure applications and committal hearings, resulting in cases being thrown out of court, and has a special interest in the abuse of powers by police officers including unlawful arrests and searches.

Vinny brings a forensically minded approach to criminal law, ensuring his clients benefit from meticulous preparation and effective execution of case strategy, as a product of Vinny’s extensive knowledge of legal and procedural requirements that prosecutors must satisfy to proceed with cases.

Putting this knowledge to practise frequently enables Vinny to have charges withdrawn or dismissed in court.

He is a passionate and empathetic defence lawyer who is tenacious in ensuring his clients have the greatest prospects of success, doggedly pursuing lines of inquiry – from potential defence witnesses and exculpatory evidence, to forensic investigation by experts – in order to achieve positive outcomes.

Vinny is an integral part of Sydney’s best criminal defence team.

James Clements

James (Jamie) Clements is a Senior Associate of our firm who was admitted as a lawyer in 2004.

He is vastly experienced in all facets of criminal and traffic law, and has been a highly respected and sought-after defence lawyer for many years.

Jamie commenced his legal career as a lawyer with one of the Central Coast’s largest and most successful law firms, where he was exposed to a wide variety of criminal and traffic law cases.

He went on to work as a Senior Legal Officer with a number of Workers’ Unions before commencing his own mixed legal and consulting law firm, which he ran for a number of years thereafter.

Jamie proceeded to specialise in his field of greatest interest, criminal defence, joining a firm as their Managing Lawyer responsible for heading and supervising a team of criminal defence lawyers and handling the firm’s day-to-day running.

During his criminal defence career, Jamie has forged a reputation as a formidable lawyer both inside and outside the courtroom; one who is consistently able to deliver exceptional outcomes to his clients by virtue of his many years of experience,  comprehensive knowledge of the law and legal process, careful formulation and effective execution of legal strategies and persuasiveness inside the courtroom.

He has successfully defended clients in some of Australia’s most serious and high-profile cases, and his commitment to clients and dedication to social justice is exemplified by his pro bono work, including his representation of asylum seekers before the High Court of Australia for both special leave applications and before the Full Bench of the Court.

Indeed, Jamie has independently appeared at all levels of the court system, firmly establishing himself as a thorough, effective and persuasive advocate.

He is a results-focused lawyer, who is passionate about achieving optimal outcomes for his valued clients, whatever their criminal or traffic law cases may be.

Jamie is an integral member of Sydney’s best criminal defence team.

Sherleen Chand

Ms Sherleen Chand is a Senior Criminal Lawyer with an impressive and varied career, which has seen her involved in Australian Taxation Office prosecutions all the way up to preparing and defending complex criminal trials.

With a strong work ethic and considerable specialist criminal law experience, Ms Chand is known for her thorough preparation of cases, high level of client service and exceptional presentation inside the courtroom.

She appears in courts throughout the Sydney metropolitan area on a daily basis, in matters ranging from licence appeals, assaults, drug possession and drink driving cases to commercial drug trials, sexual assaults, robbery and substantial fraud allegations.

She is respected by magistrates, judges and prosecutors alike for her ethics, professionalism and cutting edge knowledge of criminal and traffic law. She is an impressive advocate inside the courtroom and a persuasive negotiator when dealing with police and the DPP, which allows her to have cases dropped when others may fall short.

Ms Chand’s experience ranges from Local Court hearings, to sentencing hearings in the Local and District Courts, severity and convictions appeals in the District Court, bail applications in the Local, District and Supreme Courts, and instructing counsel in lengthy jury trials.

She goes above and beyond when it comes to trial preparation, giving clients the edge when they are facing one of the most important events in their lives.

She keeps her clients updated and informed throughout criminal proceedings, helping to ease their burden however difficult their situation may be.

Ms Chand’s clients benefit from her work ethic, professionalism and demonstrated commitment to their interests.

Mariecar Capili

Mariecar Capili is a criminal defence lawyer with substantial experience representing clients in criminal and traffic cases.She regularly appears in courts throughout New South Wales in a wide range of criminal and traffic cases including drink and drug driving, drug possession, apprehended violence orders, assaults, larceny, fraud and driver licence appeals.

She is also vastly experienced instructing barristers in serious and complex District and Supreme Court trials.

Mariecar’s clients benefit from her knowledge and understanding of the criminal justice system, both within and outside the courtroom, and her dedication in ensuring that her clients achieve the best possible outcome, whatever their criminal or traffic cases may be.

Mariecar is an invaluable member of Sydney’s best criminal defence team.

Patrick O’Sullivan

Patrick O’Sullivan is an experienced criminal defence lawyer who moved up to our profession-leading team after working for two other boutique specialist criminal defence firms in the Sydney CBD, where he was exposed to a large number of serious and complex criminal cases over a considerable period of time.

Patrick has been responsible for wide range of cases over his career, from murder, robbery in company, kidnapping, sexual assault and commercial drug importation, down to less-serious cases such as drug possession, assaults and AVOs, drink and drug driving, and driving whilst disqualified.

He is an exceptional courtroom lawyer, having successfully represented clients in many local court defended hearings, sentencing hearings in the local and district court, severity and conviction appeals in the district court, and bail applications in the local, district and supreme courts.

He is also vastly experienced in preparing and instructing barristers in complex District and Supreme Court jury and judge-alone trials.

Patrick is an affable lawyer who has his clients’ interests at heart at all times. His commitment and dedication are reflected in his outstanding track record of results, as well as the trust and confidence he instils in those he assists.

He is passionate about ensuring that his clients are kept thoroughly informed throughout the court process, and applies his impressive grasp of criminal law and procedure to developing and implementing defence strategies that achieve exceptional results.

Patrick is an integral part of Sydney’s best criminal defence team.

Deniz Nedim

Mr Deniz Nedim is an experienced senior criminal defence lawyer who regularly appears in a wide range of criminal and traffic cases, from drink driving, drug possession, assaults to more serious criminal charges.

He also assists Barristers during difficult and complex Defended Hearings and Jury Trials.

Clients benefit from Deniz’s cutting-edge legal research skills, his excellence at briefing medical and forensic experts and his commitment to ensuring that our cases are thoroughly prepared for Trial.

Deniz has developed into a competent and dedicated Senior Criminal Defence Lawyer and is a valuable member of our first-class Criminal Defence Team.

Natalija Labanc

Natalija Labanc is a specialist criminal defence lawyer who gained experience with two boutique criminal law firms in the Western suburbs before joining our profession-leading team.

Natalija’s experience ranges from representing clients in the lower courts including the Local and Childrens Court for a range of criminal and traffic law cases, from drug possession and small supply, assaults and apprehended violence orders (or ‘AVOs’), sexual touching and sexual acts, to traffic cases such as driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol (or ‘drink driving’), driving whilst suspended or disqualified, negligence, reckless and dangerous driving, through to serious and complex cases in the higher courts including the District and Supreme Courts such as commercial drug manufacture, importation and supply, large-scale fraud, detain for advantage (or ‘kidnapping’), robbery in company and homicide cases including murder and manslaughter.

She represents clients in courts and tribunals throughout New South Wales, where she is able to achieve outstanding outcomes for her clients through meticulous preparation, the execution of effective defence strategies which result in the withdrawal or downgrading of charges, and persuasive presentation inside the courtroom when cases progress to sentencing proceedings, hearings or trials.

Natalija is also experienced in instructing barristers, including Senior and Queen’s Counsel, for complex jury trials, where she consistently achieves acquittals for her clients.

She is a results-focused defence lawyer committed to ensuring that her clients are kept informed throughout the legal process and represented with tenacity, skill and diligence.

Her empathetic nature and personable character are assuring to her valued clients, who know they not only have an exceptional and dedicated lawyer on their side, but a caring person who ensures that the stress and anxiety of the criminal law process is as easy for them as it can be.

Natalija is an integral member of Sydney’s best criminal defence team.

Christian Niyonsaba

Christian Niyonsaba is a criminal defence lawyer with a unique skill set in mediation, negotiation and
persuasive presentation.

He is admitted as a lawyer in both New Zealand and Australia, and has had a diverse career prior to
commencing his career as a criminal defence lawyer. This has included included employment as a court
appointed mediator, business manager, commercial consultant and general legal practitioner.

His years of exposure to these roles have given him the edge when it comes to persuading decision-
makers both inside and outside the courtroom, which is invaluable when it comes to negotiating the
withdrawal or downgrading of charges with prosecutors, and convincing magistrates and judges to reach
a desired conclusion.

Christian a results-focused lawyer, who is consistently able to think outside the box when it comes to
developing and implementing case strategies which achieve results for his valued clients.

His professional and personable demeanour, combined with his keen intellect, legal knowledge, ability
to focus on the issues at hand and exploit weaknesses in the prosecution case, as well as his mentioned
skills of persuasion serve his clients well when it comes to obtaining positive outcomes.

Christian is an integral member of Sydney’s best criminal defence team.

Tandy Machisa

Thandiwe (Tandy) Machisa is a specialist criminal and traffic defence lawyer with a strong sense of social justice and a passion for fighting on behalf of those who find themselves faced with allegations of serious crimes – claims which can put individuals in an unfair position of having to answer to the state and its virtually unlimited resources.

Tandy is a people-oriented lawyer with enormous empathy and compassion towards her valued clients. She holds degrees in both arts (majoring in psychology) psychology and law, and has spent considerable time volunteering her services to community legal centres in order to ensure just outcomes are achieved for the vulnerable and disempowered.

She was employed with another specialist criminal defence firm in Sydney before her skills, commitment and dedication made clear she would be a valuable asset our law firm.

Tandy works tirelessly to ensure her clients achieve optimal outcomes in a broad range of criminal and traffic law cases. She is vastly experienced in preparing and instructing senior barristers in serious and complex criminal law cases including aggravated sexual assault, commercial drug supply and importation, manslaughter and murder trials – where she has achieved successful outcomes.

Tandy is also experienced in representing clients for less-serious cases that are heard in the Local Court – such as drug possession, common assault, AVOs, sexual touching, sexual act, speeding, drink and drug driving, driving whilst disqualified, reckless driving and driver licence appeals – as well as bail applications and section 14 mental health applications (previously known as ‘section 32 applications’).

She puts herself in the position of her clients, and her tenacity ensures they know they are being represented by a lawyer who will do all it takes to ensure they achieve justice.

Tandy is an integral member of Sydney’s best criminal defence team.

Lingwei Kong

Lingwei Kong is highly-effective specialist defence lawyer with expertise in white collar and corporate crime focusing on regulatory investigations, taxation offences and Crime Commission cases.Lingwei completed a Bachelor of Asia Pacific Studies, a Juris Doctor degree and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and commenced his legal career representing clients in a range of criminal and traffic law cases, as well as in the specialist field of white collar and corporate crime.

He has represented clients in cases ranging from apprehended violence orders, assaults, traffic cases including drink and drug driving, and driving whilst disqualified and dangerous driving, through to some of the nations largest alleged taxation fraud proceedings and other major white collar and corporate crime cases.

Lingwei is fluent in Chinese Mandarin and also speaks conversational Chinese Cantonese , and is deeply involved in the Chinese community in Australia.

He is a results-driven lawyer who is able to formulate and execute defence strategies that consistently produce exceptional results for his valued clients.

Lingwei is an integral member of Sydney’s best criminal defence team.

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