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SA lawyer in hot water after alleged breach of suspension

A South Australian lawyer is again under investigation, this time for allegedly breaching the suspension of his practising certificate.

user iconTony Zhang 11 May 2020 Big Law
Adelaide
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Lawyers Weekly understands that South Australian police have lodged a formal report with the Law Society after becoming aware Anthony Perre – a criminal lawyer who runs Adelaide boutique firm Perre Legal – was allegedly providing legal advice during his six-week suspension.

That complaint has now been referred to Legal Profession Conduct Commissioner Greg May, who has launched a fresh investigation into Perre’s conduct.

Last November, Mr May suspended Mr Perre’s practising certificate for six weeks and fined him $6,000 after finding him guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct following his conviction for stealing electricity and possessing drug-growing equipment.

 
 

However, it was revealed that in mid-January, detectives conducting an investigation became aware Mr Perre had allegedly provided legal advice to a man they wanted to interview over a matter.

Law Society president Tim White confirmed the society had reported the matter to the Legal Profession Conduct Commissioner after being notified.

The commissioner’s original investigation was launched in mid-2017, following a police raid on Mr Perre’s Waterloo Corner Rd property that resulted in him facing charges of electricity theft, possessing drug-growing equipment and possessing military ammunition.

Court records reveal police had found a “hidden drug bunker”, with surveillance cameras, alarms, a secret trap door leading to an elaborate, purpose-built grow room along with 10 firearms and 45,000 rounds of ammunition.

Court documents reveal Magistrate Yoong Fee Chin, who convicted and fined him for diverting electricity and possessing prescribed equipment for growing cannabis for personal use, said Mr Perre’s offending could bring the legal profession into disrepute.

“The members of the legal profession in a democratic society... are the de facto guardians of the law. This calling has to be zealously guarded,” Mr Chin said.

Following Mr Perre’s conviction, then Director of Public Prosecutions Adam Kimber SC took the unprecedented step of writing to Mr May, urging him to examine Perre’s conduct and the disrepute it had brought on the legal profession.

Despite being convicted of stealing electricity and possessing prescribed equipment for growing cannabis, he was fined $6,000 and had his practising certificate suspended for six weeks by Mr May.

Lawyers Weekly understands that his penalty had outraged police and fellow lawyers who feel his conduct tarnished the profession and should have warranted a more severe sanction.