Qld criminal lawyer loses appeal over practising ban

A Queensland criminal lawyer who repeatedly breached bail conditions while on fraud charges has lost his appeal against the cancellation of his practising certificate.

user iconTony Zhang 13 July 2020 Big Law
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The Queensland Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal agreed with Queensland Law Society that Adam Raydon Magill is not a fit and proper person to hold a practising certificate and it should be cancelled. 

Mr Magill was stripped of his certificate by the Queensland Law Society in late 2019 after the society determined he was not a fit and proper person to practice law after breaching bail six times while facing fraud charges.

QCAT president Justice Martin Daubney said Mr Magill’s conduct indicated a “cavalier attitude’’ to a basic, essential attribute of a practising solicitor.

“A person who repeatedly breaches promises which have been solemnly given is not a person in whom the judiciary, the profession and the public can have confidence as a legal practitioner,’’ Justice Daubney said.

Court documents reveal the tribunal was not satisfied Mr Magill had the personal character and professional capacity to command the confidence, respect and trust of the judiciary, the profession, clients and the public.

“Nor is it satisfied that (Magill) can be relied on in the predictable future to obey and uphold the law,’’ Justice Daubney said.

In an application to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Mr Magill sought to have his certificate reinstated, arguing he was a fit and proper person to hold a certificate.

Mr Magill argued the Law Society’s decision did not properly account for his mental health contributing to his behaviour when deciding to cancel his certificate.

The reasons listed by the Law Society for cancelling his certificate noted Mr Magill’s declining mental health and high levels of stress but “formed the view that the incident of mental decompensation... seemed to follow the events, not cause them”.

Mr Magill provided evidence to QCAT that he regretted his actions in breaching bail and he now fully appreciate[s] the importance of meticulous compliance with all of my bail conditions”.

But Justice Daubney noted that two of Mr Magill’s bail condition breaches had been after he had already been found guilty of breaching bail.

Mr Magill is facing criminal charges, including money laundering, fraud on Legal Aid Queensland, fraud on law firm Lawler Magill and falsifying a fee memorandum.

He is yet to face a hearing on the criminal charges, resulting from an 18-month Crime and Corruption Commission investigation, Operation Stockade. He is denying the allegations and will defend the charges.

He was found guilty in June last year of breaching a bail condition by contacting a Crown witness, a barrister, whom he was barred from contacting.

In August last year, Mr Magill also pleaded guilty to five further breaches of bail, by communicating with his law firm co-director Neil Lawler and Crown witnesses.