THE QUEENSLAND Law Society (QLS) may be made to pay heavily for unsuccessful charges brought against a pair of Gold Coast property lawyers, originally alleged to have played leading roles in a series of marketing scams.
Innuendo on the holiday strip is rife that Michael Yarwood, who along with close associate David Evans was cleared of unprofessional conduct allegations by the Solicitor Complaints Tribunal in May, is set to level a multi-million dollar action against his former accusers.
Yarwood was reported by the Gold Coast Bulletin as preparing to lodge documents with the Supreme Court for wrongful prosecution.
“I am advised we have a very strong case,” he told the newspaper.
However, when contacted by Lawyers Weekly, Yarwood refused to elaborate, although he did not deny that an action was brewing.
Some observers maintain the amount of compensation sought would easily reach seven figures and beyond. One insider estimated that defending the charges via prominent Queensland QC Russell Hanson would have set Yarwood back $100,000 alone.
Close sources also revealed the conduct proceedings exacted a huge emotional toll from Yarwood, who is now understood to have taken a break from practice.
When the charges were laid, both he and Evans worked with Gold Coast firm Rapp Partners. That partnership has since disbanded and it is widely believed that pressures surrounding the case contributed heavily to last year’s dissolution.
Evans has distanced himself from further proceedings and is keen to move on.
The duo were hauled before the tribunal at the behest of QLS prosecutors, who levelled a total of 43 charges against them. However, penalty was avoided after the ruling body found conflict of interest allegations, namely acting for both vendor and purchaser on the same transaction, could not be substantiated.
Following the decision, Yarwood, a former Surfers Paradise City Council candidate, was reported as saying: “Sometimes I think they saw me as a prized scalp.”
No appeal was tendered by the QLS. The guild was advised that any such action was “highly unlikely to succeed” in the wake of the tribunal’s verdict.
QLS president Glenn Ferguson was last week aware of talk surrounding Yarwood’s movements, but said no official documents had been received.
“We would, however, defend any action vigorously,” he said. “The prosecution was brought in good faith.”
Ferguson described the loss as “very disappointing” and added that defeats “every now and then” were inclined to happen in the litigation arena.