Lawyer found guilty of professional misconduct

A Melbourne lawyer has been found guilty of professional misconduct by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Alex Lewenberg, the lawyer who told a sex abuse victim that Jews shouldn’t help police prosecute other Jews, was found guilty of professional misconduct before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal yesterday.

“For [Lewenberg], as a legal practitioner, to suggest that members of the Jewish community or indeed any community or religious affiliation, should close ranks and decline to assist in the prosecution of charges of this nature is truly shocking,” Judge Pamela Jenkins said in her judgement.

“If such a position had been adopted by other Jews, it not only would have had the capacity to hamper the prosecution of a child sex offender but, also, previously, to have allowed Mr Cyprys’ offending to continue for longer than it might otherwise have done.

The Herald Sun reported that Lewenberg, who admitted to the charges but said the comments had been taken out of context, has previously had his practice certificate cancelled for unprofessional conduct.

“It is discreditable for [Lewenberg], practising law as he does in a 21st century secular society, to nevertheless proselytise his misguided concept of religious or cultural solidarity, thus effectively allowing such views to take precedence over his professional obligation to uphold the principle of equality before the law,” Jenkins said.

“I draw the only reasonable inference that [Lewenberg] not only espouses such views but that he practises law in accordance with them.”

According to The Herald Sun, the matter will return to court next month to hear submissions in relations to appropriate sanctions.

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