The criminal who loved me
A New Zealand disciplinary committee has struck off a lawyer who sneaked tobacco and an iPhone into a prison for her client, a convicted murderer and rapist, who she claimed was her lover.
The five-person panel unanimously found that Davina Murray was no longer a" fit and proper person to operate as a legal practitioner" based on her history of unprofessional conduct.
Judge Clarkson said Ms Murray’s behaviour was "of such a serious level, no response short of strike off would be a proper one", The New Zealand Herald reported.
In 2013, Ms Murray was found guilty of smuggling an iPhone, cigarettes and a lighter into Mt Eden Prison for her client, Liam Reid.
She originally alleged that prison guards framed Mr Reid, but later recanted her statement and acknowledged her guilt.
Mr Reid is serving a 23-year sentence for raping and killing a deaf woman and raping, robbing and attempting to murder a student.
In previous hearings, Ms Murray revealed she was deeply in love with Mr Reid and believed he was innocent when she brought contraband items into the prison in October 2011.
Ms Murray’s actions have prompted prisons to re-think the easy access that lawyers have to their clients, according to Auckland Prison manager Tom Sherlock.
Mr Sherlock told the court that Ms Murray's conduct had caused a significant erosion of the trust and confidence prison authorities had for lawyers.
“I personally feel I can no longer simply rely on the integrity of the legal profession when making decisions in the best interests of the security of Auckland Prison, and ultimately the safety of the public," he said.
Law Society president Chris Moore told The New Zealand Herald, "Ms Murray's actions were a flagrant disregard of the mutual trust and respect between a lawyer and prison authorities.
“That abuse of that relationship has brought the legal profession into disrepute. It also caused a review of prison security and has resulted in increased restrictions on visits between lawyers and prisoners. The tribunal decision is fully justified."