Why Name Suppression must go

Submission are currently being heard regarding changes to name suppression laws. If anyone needs any?proof?that Name Suppression isn’t working for either victims or for the general public then it is this case:

A lawyer suspended from practice for three years and ordered to pay $45,000 costs and compensation for having a “sexual liaison” with a client will keep practising pending an appeal.

A disciplinary tribunal believed the woman’s story about an incident in July 2004, effectively finding the lawyer had lied about the liaison. The lawyer’s name has been suppressed in the meantime.

Other charges a Wellington District Law Society complaints committee had brought against the lawyer were dismissed.

The tribunal suspended the lawyer for three years, censured him, and ordered him to pay the woman $5000 compensation and $40,000 costs to the NZ Law Society.

The lawyer has appealed against being found guilty and the penalty. A judge in the High Court at Wellington has delayed the penalty taking effect for about three months, when the lawyer says he will give up practice in any event.

The district law society complaints committee argued there was a risk in allowing him to continue working in the meantime among judges, clients and colleagues who did not know of the dishonesty finding made against him.

However, Justice Joe Williams decided that as an appeal had been filed the lawyer had an interest in being able to keep working and maintain the value of his practice, otherwise the appeal would be of little value. Crucial to his decision was the limited period the lawyer would continue working, he said.

Rules for some and rules for others. Nice cosy little arrangement if you happen to be a lawyer.