Non-publication bid rejected

The Council of the Bar Association of New South Wales has taken disciplinary action against a former barrister in relation to three separate complaints made against him for sexual assault.

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal found the conduct of the barrister in each complaint to constitute sexual harassment1 and a breach of rules 8(c) and 123(1)(b) of the Uniform Barristers Rules.

A finding of unsatisfactory professional conduct was made for each complaint, and when taken together, constituted professional misconduct.

A number of non-publication orders were made in the course of the hearing of the disciplinary action.

One of those orders prohibited the publication names of the three complainants and material tending to identify them.

The parties were asked to make submissions with respect to draft final non-publication orders, and the barrister subsequently applied for removal of the non-publication order that protracted two of the victim’s names on the basis that the ‘prospect of reputational damage or embarrassment’ were not sufficient grounds.2


The barrister made several allegations pertaining to the ‘untreated’, ‘self-reported’ mental health issues of the victims and suggested that ‘actual reputational or career damage’ would need to be shown in relation to the victims to form part of the basis for the granting of a non-publication order.3

The Tribunal refused the request of the barrister to lift the non-publication order and accepted that if the names of the victims were to be made public, they would likely receive ‘unwanted attention and approaches to discuss the events the subject of [their] complaints’ which would be distressing for them and would have an adverse impact on their mental health.4

The Tribunal ordered for the publication of the names of several persons and of any information which identifies or is likely lead to the identification of those persons to be prohibited.

A further hearing is listed for August 2024, following which a further decision will be published in relation to protective orders.  

1 Council of the New South Wales Bar Association v Waterstreet [2024] NSWCATOD 47.
2 Council of the New South Wales Bar Association v Waterstreet (No 2) [2024] NSWCATOD 51, [20].
3 Ibid [37].
4 Ibid [35].

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