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NSW solicitor threatened alleged domestic violence victim

A solicitor was accused of threatening a woman inside a Local Court immediately prior to domestic violence proceedings.

user iconNaomi Neilson 15 December 2023 Big Law
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Solicitor Vadym Leonidovych Malakhov, from Sydney-based firm Malakhoff & Koloyaroff Legal, intimidated his client’s wife before they were due to appear in Bankstown Local Court to hear a charge of breaching an apprehended domestic violence order.

According to a complaint made by Superintendent Kirsty Heyward, Mr Malakhov told the woman he and his client “reserves the right to charge you for assault”, in reference to an alleged violent incident.

A police officer in an interview room with them then told Mr Malakhov to leave, but he refused and stood in the doorway.


Mr Malakhov then told the woman that if her husband is convicted of the domestic-violence-related charges, “his partner visa will be removed, and you will be a single mum raising three kids on your own”.

The hearing was adjourned as the wife was unable to continue.

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) deputy president Susanne Cole, along with members Nicholas Matkovich and Elayne Hayes, found the first comment “grossly exceeded the legitimate assertion of the rights or entitlements of the husband”.

The members added that the statement “constituted a threat” that “clearly had the potential to instil fear into the wife and to influence her decisions about her participation in the legal proceedings”.

As for the second comment, the members said it was a “wholly unacceptable and inappropriate statement to make to a wife who is on the threshold of proceedings involving allegations that her husband has committed acts of domestic violence against her”.

“The statement made by Mr Malakhov is not a statement that should ever be made by a legal practitioner in Mr Malakhov’s position, and it was likely to a material degree to bring the profession into disrepute,” the members said.

Mr Malakhov submitted he had only returned to Australia from Russia the day before the incident and was “very unwell”.

NCAT noted Mr Malakhov “understands how inappropriate his conduct and his statements to the wife were”.

“Were it otherwise, the disciplinary orders may well have been more onerous for the purposes of the deterrence of Mr Malakhov from similar conduct in the future,” the members determined.

Mr Malakhov was reprimanded, fined $2,500 and ordered to complete further education.

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