The principal solicitor for a Victorian Government department has been found guilty of serious misconduct, including misappropriating nearly $7000 and practising without a certificate, but was suspended on full pay.
Elias Rallis has been suspended from his duties as a solicitor for the Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) compliance and enforcement department, while the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) conducts an internal review.
Last month, VCAT found Rallis had wrongfully obtained and kept $6750 of a client's settlement money and practised without a certificate - the offences occurring before he began employment at CAV.
An order banning him from applying for a certificate until 31 December 2010 and handling trust money until 1 July 2014 was imposed.
Judge Iain Ross, who heard the case, said Rallis had deposited a cheque from a client into his bank account, but claims by Rallis that he was entitled to about a third of the money for services performed were rejected because without a practising certificate he did not have relevant authorisation to receive trust money.
The Legal Services Commissioner said the offences were calculated, deliberate and involved misrepresentation and personal financial advantage, reported the Herald Sun.
"The misconduct is of a serious nature and we are troubled by the lack of genuine remorse and Mr Rallis' past history of disciplinary findings," he said.
A spokeswoman for CAV said Rallis had not breached his contract because Victorian Government solicitors are exempted from holding practising certificates, reported the Herald Sun.
"The conduct occurred prior to the staff member commencing work at CAV. However, the matter is now subject to an internal disciplinary process," the spokeswoman said.