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When good lawyers go bad: Part 1

When good lawyers go bad: Part 1

The tradition of lawyers behaving badly is as old as the profession itself. With a spate of recent high-profile "lawyers gone bad" stories in the press, Folklaw took a trip down memory lane to…

The tradition of lawyers behaving badly is as old as the profession itself. With a spate of recent high-profile "lawyers gone bad" stories in the press, Folklaw took a trip down memory lane to revisit some well-known misbehaving Aussie solicitors in the past decade.

1. Steve Vizard

Lawyer, Order of Australia recipient and show business icon, Vizard fell foul of the law when he was accused of establishing a share trading company in his bookkeeper's name in order to discreetly trade shares in dotcom companies that were linked to Telstra - which he served on the board of at the time.

The punishment: Vizard was fined $390,000 and banned from serving on company boards for 10 years.

2. John William Avery

Once famous for representing the infamous - namely Port Arthur gunman Martin Bryant - Avery later pleaded guilty to stealing more than $500,000 from his clients and a Tasmanian law firm over a five-year period

The punishment: Four and a half years in jail and an order to pay back $80,000. Eligible for parole in December 2010

3. Andrew Fraser

Fraser was once referred to as the celebrity lawyer, having represented a mix of clients including Alan Bond and underworld patriarch Lewis Moran. Fraser later became a celebrity in his own right after being convicted of importing cocaine to the value of $2.7 million.

The punishment: Fraser served a five-year term in prison and was released in 2006

4. Patrick Power

One of NSW's most senior crown prosecutors, Patrick Power became the prosecuted after being charged with the possession of more than 29,000 sexually explicit images, 400 of which involved children. Power's defence was simple but not good enough to avoid prison time: he claimed he suffered an internet addiction, leaving him helpless to control the excessive amounts of pornography he was downloading.

The punishment: Power was sentenced to six months in prison.

5. Eugene McGee

High-profile lawyer McGee first hit the headlines in relation to the hit-and-run death of cyclist Ian Humphrey. While McGee avoided prison time on the charge of causing death by dangerous driving, he was later charged with attempting to pervert the cause of justice.

The punishment: He is expected to stand trial after the Court of Criminal Appeal failed to dismiss the charges.

Stay tuned for part two, a list of some more recent offenders.

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