find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Accused lawyer fails to suppress name

Accused lawyer fails to suppress name

A criminal law expert has said it’s unsurprising a Sydney-based immigration lawyer charged with sexually assaulting four male clients has failed to protect his identity on the grounds that his firm could fold.

David Bitel, managing partner of Parish Patience Immigration Lawyers, applied to suppress his name last week (5 December) after being charged with four counts of sexual intercourse without consent and three counts of indecent assault. The assaults allegedly occurred at his Sydney office between 1995 and 2004.

His lawyer, Murugan Thangaraj, told the Downing Centre Local Court that if the allegations were publicised the firm could fold as Bitel brings in the bulk of business revenue. The livelihood of 35 firm employees would consequently be jeopardised, he added.

Thangaraj also argued that revealing Bitel’s identity could interfere with the administration of justice for the firm’s clients that have active cases before the courts.

Magistrate Michael Barko dismissed the application. “It’s an inevitable consequence of the justice system that there can be adverse impacts on colleagues, employees, family and friends,” he said.

A NSW-based criminal lawyer, who requested he not be identified, said Bitel’s application was a long shot and the judge’s decision was to be expected. “Suppression orders are hard to get, it’s quite restricted ... [Bitel’s] lawyer thought of the best basis that he could and it hasn’t worked,” he told Lawyers Weekly.

He added that he can understand the reasoning behind Thangaraj’s argument: “It’s not like a big company where directors are faceless; [Bitel] was the face of the business ... even so, I’m not surprised by the judge’s response.”

Under the Court Suppression and Non-Publication Orders Act 2010, a suppression order may be made when the court believes it is necessary to: prevent prejudice to the proper administration of justice; prevent prejudice to the interests … in relation to national or international security; protect the safety of any person, or avoid causing undue distress or embarrassment to a party to, or witness in, criminal proceedings involving an offence of a sexual nature.

The names of Bitel’s clients have been suppressed on the latter grounds.

Bitel is due to return to court on 22 January.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Accused lawyer fails to suppress name
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...