NSW Bar Association says no to Kiwi barrister

A former NZ lawyer has been barred from practicing in Australia after he was caught out lying on his application.

Former defence lawyer Chris Comeskey has been barred from practising law in Australia.

The ex-Auckland barrister was suspended from the roll of Barristers and Solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal in 2010.

He had a raft of complaints laid against him to the New Zealand Law Society ranging from rude and offensive language to overcharging.
He also had a driving with excess blood-alcohol conviction.

In the 2010 ruling by the tribunal he was ordered to pay costs of $66,397.

Comeskey had not practiced law since leaving for Australia a year later.

Then last year, he applied for admission as a legal practitioner in New South Wales by a notice under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997, without disclosing his suspension.

The association refused him on the basis that he was not a "fit and proper person" under s 48(1) of the Legal Profession Act 2004.

On 10 November last year Comeskey filed a Notice of Appeal in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Last Thursday, his appeal against the rejection was dismissed.

In the judgement released last week, Justice Peter Hidden ruled Comeskey had committed "deliberate falsehood".

“While the other eleven complaints and the convictions for offences are not to be ignored, it is primarily the combination of the matters dealt with in the Tribunal and the lack of candour demonstrated by his conduct in pursuing admission to practise in this State which lead me to the conclusion that Mr Comeskey has not discharged his onus of establishing that he is a fit and proper person to hold a practising certificate,” he said.

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