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‘Too pretty for jail’: Lawyer disciplined for social media posts

A lawyer who told a client he was “too pretty” to be behind bars and boasted he could “keep all the boys out of jail” faced disciplinary action.

user iconNaomi Neilson 28 March 2024 Big Law
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While representing a man charged with using a carriage service to make a threat, criminal lawyer Anthony De Fraine posted comments on Facebook which were “likely to bring the profession into disrepute”.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) publicly reprimanded De Fraine for unsatisfactory professional conduct.

It was the first time QCAT heard a disciplinary matter concerning the improper use of social media by a legal practitioner.


In a post to his public account, the client uploaded a picture with the caption, “baiiiiiiiil, (sic) no jail today mother lickers”.

In a comment, De Fraine told the client he was “too pretty for jail”.

He then added: “You’re not going to jail on my watch. In the hoods where I’ve run people know De Fraine keeps all the boys out of jail”.

In another, De Fraine told his client’s “mates” to check on him because police from Cairns were “at his house” and had taken his phone.

The comments were able to be seen by members of the public.

QCAT’s Justice Paul Williams said De Fraine’s posts were made while the client’s legal matter was still active before the court.

“[This] demonstrates a lack of professionalism and also a lack of understanding of his ongoing duties as an officer of the court,” he said.

QCAT noted De Fraine cooperated with the disciplinary proceedings and expressed remorse for the “shortcomings”.

De Fraine told Justice Williams he was “deeply ashamed” and the misconduct had brought “shame on his family”.

“Additionally, the respondent indicated that he no longer intends to practise law and will be focusing on his family,” QCAT said.

Because of De Fraine’s decision to give up law, it did not warrant a more restrictive or onerous order “to protect the public”.

While the Legal Services Commission sought a pecuniary penalty in the range of $2,500 and $5,000, Justice Williams said De Fraine’s decision not to practise and his personal circumstances warranted a smaller fine.

De Fraine was ordered to pay the sum of $2,000 and cover costs.

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