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Lawyer Found Guilty of Professional Misconduct in Australia
A lawyer in Australia who would ask his trainee to have sex with him and filmed the conversation with the trainee knowing, has been disqualified from practicing law for eight months, according to The Age.
The lawyer has not been identified, only referred to as “PLP.” The lawyer was found guilty of sexually harassing the woman, known as “GLS,” for a period of two months in 2011. The incidents occurred 11 times.
The lawyer was ordered to pay the woman $100,000 in compensation for damage, loss and injury. The victim and the defendants are not allowed to be named because the decision has confidential psychological and medical evidence.
The lawyer used two digital cameras in his office in July of 2011 without the woman knowing. He downloaded the videos and sound recordings onto his computer. Judge Pamela Jenkins said the following, according to The Age:
“There is no doubt that there were on the evening of 4 July 2011 repeated requests by Mr PLP for sexual intercourse with Ms GLS amounting in all, as Mr PLP agreed in cross-examination, to 78 occasions. Each request was refused by Ms GLS.”
GLS had known PLP for some five years prior to starting work for him as part of her legal training. She needed 80 days of practical legal experience before applying for admission as a lawyer.
The tribunal found that the lawyer made uninvited sexual comments and sexual advances to the woman, which she rejected each time. The lawyer also showed the woman a video of a prostitute performing a sexual act on him while on vacation. He has denied all of the accusations. He claims she fabricated all of them.
PLP locked the office one night and said, “Please let me. No one will ever find out, I have locked the door and no one will hear anything. There is no one here.”
A second night, he massaged the shoulders of GLS and said, “The reason why you are not agreeing to sleep with me is because you are so stressed. I will fix that for you now.”
On a separate occasion, the girlfriend of the lawyer tried to convince GLS that she should sleep with him. She even sent the woman a naked picture of the lawyer. When GLS refused to sleep with the lawyer, the girlfriend said, “if she did not, Mr PLP might not sign her papers – then what will you do?”
The lawyer refused to act as a witness in the case and even pleaded guilty to professional misconduct. According to Judge Jenkins, the lawyer refused to “expose himself to the scrutiny of cross-examination, [which] must reflect significantly adversely upon his claims.” She also said the lawyer “been portrayed as someone reflecting a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde personality. On the other hand, his behaviour toward the complainant portrays a persistent sexual predator capable of considerable cunning, humiliating behaviour and deceit. The misconduct represents a most serious dereliction of duty by a legal practitioner, particularly in respect of his serious breach of professional ethical behaviour.”
The tribunal suspended his license to practice until September and found him guilty of professional misconduct.Lawyer Suspended from Practicing Until September for Misconduct by Jim Vassallo