Former solicitor convicted of DV assault to be struck off

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal President Justice Martin Daubney AM has recommended that a former solicitor convicted of a serious domestic violence assault be struck off the state’s roll of legal practitioners.

Justice Daubney, in a recently published decision, found the former lawyer – identified as ‘SD’ – engaged in professional misconduct by breaching a DV protection order and assaulting his partner between April and May 2018.

Justice Daubney also made a finding of unsatisfactory conduct by SD for failing to advise Queensland Law Society that he been charged by police with an offence of common assault in a domestic violence setting – as required under the Legal Profession Act 2007 (LPA)– on 2 May 2018.

The tribunal was told SD was admitted as a Queensland solicitor in 2014 and held a practising certificate until it was cancelled by QLS in 2019.

In July last year, Queensland’s Legal Services Commissioner filed disciplinary action against SD on three separate charges.

Those charges related to conduct that resulted in SD being convicted on 21 August 2019 of the serious offence of common assault-domestic violence and a failure to give QLS the required notifications of that event within the timeframes prescribed under the LPA.

Justice Daubney, in a written five-page decision published on 15 June, said SD did not in any way engage in the discipline application and did not file a response or appear before the tribunal to respond to the charges.

“The background to this matter can be stated briefly,” he said. “In February 2017, (SD) was named as the respondent in a domestic violence temporary protection order.

“His wife was named as the aggrieved. One of the conditions of that order was that (SD) was prohibited from remaining, entering or approaching within 100 metres of the aggrieved.

“Notwithstanding that, in April 2018, (SD) in knowing contravention of that protection order, commenced cohabiting with his wife.

“Then, in May 2018, an incident occurred in which (SD) unlawfully assaulted his wife at their home.”

In recommending SD be struck off, Justice Daubney noted there had been a complete “absence of remorse or regret, let alone insight” shown to the tribunal by SD.

“There is no evidence whatsoever of any rehabilitation on (SD’s) part,” he said. “On the contrary, he has left the country and disengaged from this disciplinary process.

“The tribunal accepts … (SD) cannot be regarded as a person in whom clients, especially vulnerable people, could place their trust, nor could he command their respect.

“Accordingly, the tribunal is of the view that this is an appropriate case to recommend that (SD) be struck off.”

Read the decision.

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