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ICAC probe into Sydney barrister

ICAC probe into Sydney barrister

Sydney barrister John Hart is being investigated amidst allegations he told clients he could win favourable treatment by bribing judicial officials and defrauded the Government by inflating…

Sydney barrister John Hart is being investigated amidst allegations he told clients he could win favourable treatment by bribing judicial officials and defrauded the Government by inflating clients' costs claims.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption's (ICAC) inquiry will also examine claims that Hart, in conjunction with a number of clients, "provided false information to judicial officers in an attempt to secure a particular venue or magistrate for criminal proceedings", reported The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).

In particular, the allegations centre around a sexual assault trial in Wagga Wagga in February 2008, in which Hart's instructing solicitor, Anthony Paul, and his client, Jason Kelly, have been implicated, along with Hart - who allegedly inflated legal costs in a claim to the Attorney-General's Department.

Admitted to the NSW Bar in 1986, Hart has been reprimanded on a number of occasions, including for practising without a certificate for 10 months, but in 2006 was found guilty of professional misconduct.

He was also fined $4000 for four counts of unsatisfactory professional misconduct because he failed to notify the Bar Council of further convictions for tax offences.

Hart did not respond to the SMH but Paul said he would co-operate fully with the investigation and said he was confident it would show nothing improper had been done.

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