Legal Services Board doesn’t renew ticket of lawyer to gangland figures

Two blokes shot this well known lawyer’s underworld partner Lewis Caine and got put on trial for murder. Representative of a few underworld clients, she refused to give evidence at the two blokes’ trials despite having been ordered by the Court to do so. She said she was scared of getting her head blown off. Harper J found that she was genuinely afraid but under no imminent threat and convicted her of the crime of contempt of court. He did not impose any penalty, however, citing “exceptional circumstances”. She appealed to the Court of Appeal, but dropped it, after — according to The Australianthe judges warned her that if her appeal failed they might impose a penalty. Then the DPP appealed, but the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday that they had no right to do so, and threw it out: DPP v G-W [2006] VSCA 295. But the Legal Services Board wrecked the party by refusing to renew the solicitor’s practising certificate on the grounds that she is not a fit and proper person to practice the law. She will take the matter to VCAT and can continue to practice in the meantime. It will be an interesting case.

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