find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Real Estate & Projects Lawyer (6+ years PAE)
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Top tier firm with offices nationally · High profile clients
View details
Gadens PNG under 24-hour guard

Gadens PNG under 24-hour guard

Staff at Gadens Lawyers in the firm's Port Moresby office are under 24-hour protective guard this week following recent attacks and threats on junior lawyers by armed attackers.The attacks,…

Staff at Gadens Lawyers in the firm's Port Moresby office are under 24-hour protective guard this week following recent attacks and threats on junior lawyers by armed attackers.

The attacks, which commenced in December 2009 and have continued through January 2010, are believed to be linked to Gadens's representation of Bank South Pacific (BSP) in a recent court case.

Gadens confirmed today that the firm has been forced to place all partners in PNG under 24-hour guard and two junior lawyers under guard at their homes.

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Port Moresby Gadens managing partner Winifred Kamit confirmed that the firm had last week withdrawn legal services to BSP, a long-term client.

"This decision was not entered into without our very careful consideration - balancing both our professional standing with the lives of our people here," Kamit said. "We feel we took the right decision".

A report in The Australian said that in late December, five shots were fired at about 3am into the property of one of the firm's lawyers by an unknown person, and on January 6 another was threatened by five people with guns.

Kamit told Lawyers Weekly that in the second attack, the thugs had jumped out of a car and said: "That's him, he was the one who was in the court." Kamit said the attackers then held a gun to the lawyer's head and said to him: "What do you think you are going to achieve?".

Gadens had been representing BSP, the nation's largest banking institution, in a case attempting to recover debts from a company previously owned by former Papua New Guinea (PNG) MP Peter Yama.

The armed attackers did not mention a specific case, though the lawyers attacked were involved in the BSP case.

The incidents follow last year's arrest of Gadens' senior partner and New Zealand national Erik Anderson, on the basis of allegations by Yama that BSP was trying to defraud him. This month, two Australian banking staffers at BSP were also arrested on similar charges.

The situation is a significant blow to Gadens in the jurisdiction, with BSP having been a big client of the office, despite changes in ownership and name, since the office was opened in 1969.

Kamit said that whether the firm acts for BSP in other matters in the future will be "a decision for the bank". "We don't choose our clients, and we are not sure how they will take this," she said.

Kamit considers the firm's plight as "a serious matter of national importance", one that is likely to affect the perception of the jurisdiction among the banking community, as well as the legal profession.

- Ben Abbott

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

Gadens PNG under 24-hour guard
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
Aug 21 2017
LCA applauds proposed Modern Slavery Act
The Law Council of Australia has welcomed new recommendations for the development of a Modern Slaver...
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 & ...