One lawyer was nearly struck off the rolls for making ‘disgraceful and baseless attacks’ against two High Court judges
Auckland barrister Francisc Catalin Deliu is suspended from practice for 15 months while Christchurch lawyer Gary Horne is suspended for three months beginning 1 February.
The tribunal found Deliu guilty of six charges of professional misconduct, one charge of unprofessional conduct, one charge of unsatisfactory conduct, and one charge of conduct unbecoming a practitioner.
The tribunal seriously considered striking Deliu off the roll, but could not come to a unanimous decision.
He has been ordered to pay the New Zealand Law Society costs of $153,500 as well as contribute $108,500 of the $117,426 costs of the tribunal hearing.
The tribunal found Deliu guilty of six charges of professional misconduct after he made “excessive, disgraceful and baseless attacks” against two High Court judges between 2008 and 2010 using “provocative and intemperate language.”
Deliu was also found guilty of two separate counts of unprofessional and unsatisfactory conduct due to “a clear pattern of incompetent actions over a confined period” on behalf of various parties in 2008 and 2009.
"The tribunal considered that strike off was open on the basis of the repetitive, persistent and quite outrageous conduct in relation to the Judges’ charges. The totality of the conduct and the practitioner’s response to the charges have called into question whether he is a fit and proper person to practise as a lawyer," the tribunal said.
However, the tribunal said the lawyer deserved a second chance. He is appealing the tribunal’s decision.
Meanwhile, Auckland lawyer Gary Horne admitted one charge of misconduct and two charges of unsatisfactory conduct in a separate case heard by the tribunal.
Two of the charges was related to the lawyer’s actions acting for different clients in the purchase of properties while the third charge was linked to the operations of his nominee company and a number of breaches of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Nominee Company) Rules 2008.
Horne voluntarily surrendered his practicing certificate and is set to retire 1 February. The tribunal took into account these factors, along with his long career in the law and the lawyer not making any personal gain from the matters, in deciding to impose a short suspension.
“Mr Horne is fundamentally an honest person; he is motivated by what has been described as his altruism attested to by the testimonials of his former clients,” the tribunal said.
He has been censured and ordered to pay the New Zealand Law Society costs of $21,771 and an additional reimbursement of $4,020 for tribunal hearing expenses.
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