Sarah Kendall researches espionage law. This research has been published in leading law journals and has been featured in the media. More generally, Sarah is interested in evidence law, the intersection of law and science/medicine, and all aspects of national security law. In addition to her research in law, Sarah has experience developing and managing research projects in various science disciplines, including ecology, biology and psychology. 

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Laws (with first-class honours) from UQ. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and is admitted as a lawyer to the Supreme Court of Queensland. 

Project Title: Non-Fatal Strangulation Victim-Witnesses, Brain Injury and PTSD: Perspectives from Prosecutors and Defence Counsel. 

Supervisors: Dr Caitlin Goss (UQ Law), Associate Professor Robin Fitzgerald (UQ Social Science) and Professor Heather Douglas (Uni of Melb, UQ Law honorary professor)

Project overview

Sarah’s doctoral thesis examines the Non-Fatal Strangulation (‘NFS’) offence, focusing on how victims of NFS give evidence in court. Strangulation obstructs blood flow to the brain which can result in anoxic-hypoxic brain injury (‘AHBI’) in victims. As a life-threatening and terrifying event, strangulation victims can also develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (‘PTSD’). A common consequence of both AHBI and PTSD is memory loss (or other issues with memory), which can have significant implications for the victim’s ability to recall her experience of being strangled and explain this to the court.

Sarah’s thesis investigates whether prosecutors and defence counsel are aware that NFS victim-witnesses may be suffering from AHBI and/or PTSD, whether they know how these conditions may impact victim-witnesses, and how this knowledge (or lack thereof) influences their approach to prosecuting and defending NFS cases. Ultimately, Sarah wishes to use the results of her research to inform recommendations for reforming the criminal trial in NFS cases, so that these vulnerable witnesses are treated fairly and with dignity. 

Publications and Conference Presentations

  • Rebecca Ananian-Welsh, Sarah Kendall and Richard Murray,  ‘Risk and Uncertainty in Public Interest Journalism: The Impact of Espionage Law on Press Freedom’ (2021) 44(3) Melbourne University Law Review (forthcoming).
  • Sarah Kendall, ‘Australia’s New Espionage Laws: A Necessary Evil’ (Paper presented at Australian and New Zealand Law Honours Student Conference, University of Technology Sydney, 24 November 2018).
  • Sarah Kendall, Espionage and Press Freedom in Australia (Reform Briefing 1/2020, Press Freedom Policy Papers, The University of Queensland).