Budding barrister rejected for ‘deficient and misleading’ criminal record claim | Tech US News


A future criminal lawyer was refused admission by the Queensland Court of Appeal because in his application he “failed to fully and candidly disclose” the circumstances of his criminal record, which included a conviction and subsequent prison sentence for stabbing two people.

the appellant, someone Lawyers Weekly decided not to name him, last week he was refused admission to the legal profession on the grounds that he was not currently “fit” for the profession following an “extremely serious” incident in 2007 in which two people were injured .

In his application for admission, the prospective lawyer listed a number of matters that might affect his eligibility, including history traffic offences, SPER debts relating to various fines, “victims of crime compensation” debt and a lengthy criminal history including convictions for theft, willful damage, drug offences, breach of bail and trespass and wounding.

The appellant committed the offenses when he was seventeen, 18 and 19 years old, the wound being committed at the age of 18. He is now 34 and has since served three months in prison with three years probation.

The most notable incident occurred in 2007 when the applicant was at a party when an argument broke out, resulting in the applicant stabbing two people – a 38-year-old man and his 60-year-old mother.

After the 38-year-old, who injured his back in 2001 and had difficulty walking, came out of his house during a party, an argument broke out with one of the applicant’s friends, who threw a bottle of vodka at the victim. and placed it in the head. Appellant was then “told there was a man outside looking for a fight”, handed a steak knife and left to confront him.

He then stabbed the man twice in the upper back, with the third stab he “rebounded” and hit the man’s mother as she tried to protect him. After the altercation, the applicant went back inside, pretended to be asleep, and in a later interview denied involvement.

The sentencing judge wrote that: “During the course of the confrontation, a man with a significant disability who had a walking stick was grabbed by the head” and that the appellant was “laughing and smiling after it happened’.

As he was only 18 at the time, the trial judge gave the appellant a suspended sentence of 18 months in prison after three months of actual detention for aggravated assault (involving a 38-year-old man) and three years’ probation for the second count (involving a 60-year-old woman ).

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The complainant has since paid the victim more than $20,000 in victim compensation and written a letter of apology – and submitted an affidavit in his application saying he was “deeply remorseful” for his actions. He was also never charged with another crime after his release from prison in 2008.

However, as part of his application for admission, the court required sentencing comments regarding wounding conviction (because they were not guaranteed) and, at their discretion, the supreme judge Helen Bowskill, Judge Jean Dalton and Judge David Boddice said the comments presented a “significantly different picture of the events” described by the appellant in his submitted written statement.

“It is abundantly clear from the sentencing submissions that the appellant’s shorthand description of the offense … was flawed and misleading in a number of important respects,” they said.

These concerns were raised at the applicant’s first hearing in October 2022, before the application was adjourned until November. During this time, directions were issued allowing the appellant to file further affidavit material to explain why he had not been “full and forthright” in his disclosure of the offenses in his first affidavit.

“The applicant’s further written statement, filed on 27 October 2022, says that on the morning of 10 October 2022 (the first day of the application) his counsel asked him to provide details of the criminal damage so that counsel could provide them to the court , should it prompt him. He states what he told his counsel, which is considerably more than what he stated in paragraph 35 of his affidavit, but still omits key facts that are evident from his sentencing remarks,” the judgment said.

“The complainant says his memory of the night is unclear because he consumed a large amount of alcohol. As for the sentencing hearing, the appellant says that his ‘recollection of this event is hazy as I was very anxious, focused on what kind of sentence I was going to face, and it’s been 14 years since the conviction.’ He adds that in the 14 years since he was convicted and sentenced, he has tried not to think about that part of his life because it is a source of shame and embarrassment.’

The father of the applicant also stated to the court that since August he has employed the applicant in his company, where he performs legal tasks after completing a practical legal course.

The appellant’s main ambition is to become a criminal lawyer – and he said he would be supervised and mentored by a family friend, who is also a lawyer, for at least an hour a week if accepted.

However, given the applicant’s past actions, the court said that this offer “totally inadequate to deal with the concerns raised by the application’ and that he was not satisfied that the applicant was currently a ‘fit and proper person’ for admission.

“The court’s concerns about the applicant’s suitability for admission at this time are further heightened by his father’s evidence of the nature of the work he is currently doing and his father’s enthusiasm for the applicant adding value as a recognized candidate a lawyer.

“The appellant could not legitimately “add value” to the business as a lawyer by doing the things his father would have wanted him to do. He can legally practice law only if he has a local certificate to practice law; after that, he can only initially perform supervised legal practice for a period of two years. He cannot do this work in his father’s company,” the judgment reads.

“A person cannot be admitted as a lawyer and then work to develop the appropriate level of insight and judgment to fulfill the rigorous duties of a legal practitioner. The essence of the ‘fit and proper person’ requirement is that the applicant must be able to demonstrate this at the time of admission.”

The court recommended the applicant complete work experience as a law clerk under the day-to-day supervision of an experienced legal practitioner for a period of time before re-applying for admission — and noted that the dismissal of this application was “without prejudice” to the applicant’s ability to make a further application at a later date.


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