Our team


Michael Perrella BA, LLB

Mr Perrella has over 20 years' experience as a criminal lawyer. After 10 years working as a prosecutor for both the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of Western Australia Mr Perrella developed first-hand knowledge and experience about how a prosecution case is built from the investigation stage of gathering evidence to the assessment of that evidence and application of prosecution policy and guidelines through to making tactical decisions about how the case will be presented to a jury and then effectively prosecuting the case at trial before a judge and jury.

Drawing on his extensive knowledge and experience as a prosecutor Mr Perrella made the move to the other side of the bar table to fulfil his long-held desire to establish a specialist criminal law firm. Since establishing Perrella Legal in 2011, Mr Perrella has garnered a solid reputation as a successful criminal defence lawyer having consistently achieved outstanding results for his clients by negotiating outright discontinuances of serious indictable charges, securing acquittals at trial and obtaining non-custodial outcomes on pleas of guilty for serious criminal offences. Mr Perrella has prosecuted and defended numerous criminal trials in all courts throughout Western Australia.

Mr Perrella is a member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association of Western Australia and the Law Society of Western Australia.

Preeminent 2023 Criminal Law

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Elise Abou-Merhi LLB

Elise was admitted to the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 2005 and joined Perrella Legal as a part time lawyer after many years experience as a prosecutor with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (WA) where she garnered an excellent reputation for her thorough preparation, efficiency with precision in her oral advocacy and consistent fairness in her dealings with all defence lawyers. Elise is highly regarded for her ability to efficiently assess briefs of evidence and provide advice as to the best strategy to resolve a matter without the need for a trial.

Elise has consistently achieved exceptional outcomes for clients by having charges discontinued outright or downgraded to reflect the essential criminality involved. Elise has appeared as counsel in every jurisdiction, including as junior counsel in the High Court of Australia. Elise is passionate about defending the presumption of innocence and achieving results that, at first blush, otherwise seem unattainable. Elise exercises a high degree of humility about her achievements ... and is camera shy.


Chris Townsend BA, JD, LLM(CrimPrac)

Since admission to the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 2013, Chris has practised almost exclusively in criminal law. Having joined the Perrella Legal team in 2023, Chris brings a wealth of experience across all criminal matters, from simple offences such as drink driving, assault and drug possession to serious indictable offences such as drug trafficking, money laundering and murder. 

Over the last decade, Chris has appeared before all courts to represent clients at both trials and sentencing.

Chris has a particular interest in appeal matters, and has appeared as Counsel before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, as well as Junior Counsel before the High Court. Chris has also gained a Master of Laws in Criminal Practice, and is otherwise an Adjunct Lecturer at the WA College of Law. 

With a keen passion for criminal law, and understanding the psychological, emotional, and physical impact that clients experience going through the criminal justice process, Chris strives to achieve the best outcome for his clients, whilst ensuring the client understands the process and the options, every step of the way.


ashleigh-antoine.jpgAshleigh Antoine LLB

Ashleigh joined our team in 2016 after attaining her Bachelor of Laws with Distinction and completing clerkships at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (WA) and the Criminal Appeals team at Legal Aid WA. 

Since her admission to the Supreme Court of Western Australia Ashleigh has practised exclusively in criminal law at Perrella Legal.

Ashleigh provides our clients with legal advice and court representation in relation to matters ranging from minor traffic offences to complex criminal offences, restraining order matters and appeal work.

Ashleigh is dedicated to achieving the best result for each client, whether that is the fairest sentence possible at a sentencing hearing, negotiating a downgrade or discontinuance of a charge with the prosecution, or fighting for our client’s interests at trial. Ashleigh is a passionate court advocate whose experience spans across the various Magistrates Courts in Perth, the District Court and Supreme Court.

Ashleigh understands how emotional and stressful it is for our clients going through the criminal justice system, often for the first time, and how much our clients need a lawyer who is not only their advocate but who they can count on as being honest, communicative and empathetic.

Ashleigh is a member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association of Western Australia and the Law Society of Western Australia.

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240129-5449.JPGJade Tonkin BCom, LLB

Jade joined the Perrella Legal team in April 2023, and shortly thereafter, was admitted to the Supreme Court of Western Australia in May 2023. Prior to admission, Jade gained valuable experience as a paralegal for firms practising in criminal, family, and commercial law. Ultimately, Jade discovered a keen interest and passion within the field of criminal law. 

Although she is a new member of the profession, Jade is dedicated, hardworking individual, who strives to always achieve the best outcome, is enthusiastic about expanding her knowledge, and is committed to advocating for our clients.

Jade is a member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association of Western Australia and the Law Society of Western Australia.

Click here to send us an online enquiry, or call us on (08) 9225 6646

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