Christian Porter’s high-flying criminal lawyer wife is set to represent SAS soldier accused of gunning down an unarmed Afghan villager
- Karen Espiner defends Oliver Schulz in war crimes trial
- SAS veteran accused of murdering Afghan villager
- Espiner recently married former A-G Christian Porter
High-flying criminal lawyer Karen Espiner is set to defend an accused war criminal who allegedly shot dead an unarmed Afghan villager.
The glamorous legal eagle, who married former attorney-general Christian Porter in Byron Bay in February, appeared via video link for Oliver Schulz at Queanbeyan Local Court on Monday.
The decorated SAS veteran, 41, is facing a possible life sentence for allegedly gunning down Dad Mohammad in a wheat field in Uruzgan Province, southern Afghanistan during May 2012.
Mr Schulz did not apply for bail and remains in police custody after being arrested at an address in Goulburn in the NSW Southern Highlands on Monday morning.
Footage of the alleged shooting was broadcast by the ABC’s Four Corners program in 2020.
Christian Porter (left) is seen with Karen Espiner in February 2022 when the pair were first photographed together
Oliver Schulz (pictured) – who was awarded the Commendation for Gallantry for his service in Afghanistan – is now expected to be the first Australian Defence Force member to be charged with a war crime under Australian law
Schulz – who was awarded the Commendation for Gallantry for his service in Afghanistan – is now the first Australian Defence Force member to be charged with a war crime under Australian law.
The Office of the Special Investigator – believed to be made up of homicide detectives and an intelligence officer – was set up in 2021 to probe alleged war crimes.
It followed an inquiry by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force inquiry led by Paul Brereton, an Army Reserve major general and NSW Supreme Court judge.
‘A joint investigation between the Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) and the AFP has today resulted in the arrest of a New South Wales man,’ confirmed the AFP in a statement.
‘It is expected he will be charged with one count of War Crime—Murder under subsection 268.70(1) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
‘Investigators arrested the man, 41, in regional NSW this morning and he is expected to appear in a NSW Local Court later today [Monday].
‘It will be alleged he murdered an Afghan man while deployed to Afghanistan with the Australian Defence Force.
‘The maximum penalty for a War Crime—Murder offence is life imprisonment.’
It marks the third marriage for Mr Porter and with the wedding coming just months after the pair confirmed their engagement in October 2022
The statement added: ‘The OSI and AFP are working together to investigate allegations breaches of the Laws of Armed Conflict by Australian Defence Force personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.
‘As the matter will be before the court and the investigation is ongoing, no further comment will be made.’
The British-born Ms Espiner is considered an elite solicitor having been named Criminal Law Partner of the Year at the 2020 Lawyers Weekly Awards.
Much of her practice is devoted to representing clients charged with ‘very serious criminal law matters including murder, sexual offences, drug offences, serious assaults and corporate offences,’ according to the Younes + Espiner Lawyers website.
‘She also appears in complicated local court matters for clients whose personal and professional reputations are at risk,’ it reads.
WHO IS HIGH-POWERED LAWYER KAREN ESPINER?
Karen Espiner is a hotshot criminal lawyer based in Sydney.
She co-founded Younes + Espiner Lawyers and was named Criminal Law Partner of the Year at the 2020 Lawyers Weekly Awards.
Much of Karen’s practice is devoted to representing clients in the District and Supreme Courts who have been charged with ‘very serious criminal law matters including murder, sexual offences, drug offences, serious assaults and corporate offences’.
‘She also appears in complicated Local Court matters for clients whose personal and professional reputations are at risk,’ her website states.
‘One of Karen’s strengths is her ability to analyse and explain complex legal issues to her clients in a simple, easy-to-follow way.
‘She is well respected by other members of the profession and the judiciary and is known for her meticulous preparation, persuasive advocacy and professionalism.’
The legal eagle went public with her relationship with Christian Porter last year when he was in the midst of his defamation case against the ABC.
Ms Espiner said she was not involved in Mr Porter’s defamation case but offered him personal support during the tough time.