A former Brisbane lawyer has been struck off after he failed to notify Queensland Law Society (QLS) he had been convicted of a serious offence.
Carlito Jose Desacola (also known as Carlito Jose Raistruck) admitted the five charges brought by the Legal Services Commissioner in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in December last year.
The charges related to Desacola’s conviction for a 2017 sexual assault on the Sunshine Coast. He was found guilty in February 2021, and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended after six months, with the judge describing the offending as “brazen and opportunistic”.
The discipline application involved Desacola’s contravention of the Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld) including by failing to notify QLS that he had been charged, and subsequently convicted; and by failing to provide a written statement to QLS explaining why he continued to be a fit and proper person to hold a practising certificate.
Desacola said he had neglected his reporting obligations due to his pre-occupation with work and criminal proceedings, and due to his immediate imprisonment upon conviction.
In the decision published last week, Member Lyons found Desacola’s offence to be “reprehensible” but having “no connection with legal practice”. He said, however, other factors needed to be considered.
“So far as the offending reflects upon the respondent’s character, it has little, if anything, to do with the standards of conduct required of a practitioner in the course of legal practice,” he said.
“However, it seems to me that the respondent’s conduct is likely to have an adverse impact on the reputation and standing of the legal profession, a matter of some importance.
“The acceptance in the profession of a person who had committed such an offence recently may lead the public to doubt its standards.
“For that reason, it seems to me correct to conclude that the conduct, and subsequent conviction, demonstrates that the respondent is not a fit and proper person to be a legal practitioner.”
The tribunal recommended Desacola’s name be removed from the local roll of people admitted to the legal profession, and ordered that he pay the commission’s costs.