Lawyer struck off after $60,000 bung to minister
11 May 2018
An Australian lawyer has been struck off for paying a bung of AUD60,000 to a government minister. His lawyers put forward a bizarre argument that he should stay on the roll, so he could sit on a rugby panel.
In 2011, lawyer Harold Shand was jailed for corruption after an Australian court found that he had paid a secret commission of AUD60,000 to Gordon Nuttall, who was the industrial relations minister at the time. Shand had authorised for the money to be paid from Capregin, a mining services company of which he was a shareholder. The prosecution at that trial claimed that Shand had made the payment as a bribe to curry favour with the government. The judge sentenced Shand to 15 months in jail. The disgraced Nuttall had been sentenced to 12 years for perjury and receiving various secret commissions.
Last year, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled that Shand shouldn't be struck off. But the Legal Services Commission appealed the decision saying that Shand was unfit to be on the roll.
The matter has now been heard before the Queensland Court of Appeal, where Shand's lawyers argued that the payment was an isolated incident. In a poor attempt to win over the court, they also said that Shand wished to remain on the roll so that he could sit on a rugby judiciary.
||Shand's lack of judgment meant that he didn't see anything wrong with this one
The Court of Appeal's presiding judge Philip McMurdo said that Shand's actions were very serious and "undermined the integrity of executive government at a ministerial level"
. He added that it was difficult to understand how a "mature person, having studied and practised the law, could have failed to underestimate the seriousness of an offence of corruption involving a minister of the Crown
". He ordered that Shand be struck from the roll.