30 Mar 2012

Conviction doesn't mean lawyer can't practise

7:47 pm on 30 March 2012

The Law Society says any complaint about a lawyer would prompt an investigation into whether they should be struck off the law register.

Former Minister of Justice and lawyer Bill Jeffries was sentenced on Thursday after being found guilty of making false statements in company prospectuses before finance company Lombard went into receivership.

He was convicted along with three other directors - Sir Douglas Graham, who is also a former lawyer and Justice Minister, Michael Reeves and Lawrence Bryant.

All four were sentenced to community work.

Graham is no longer practising as a lawyer but Jeffries is.

Malcolm Ellis from the Law Society would not comment on Jeffries, but says in general, just because a lawyer has a conviction that does not mean they can not continue to practice law.

He says a lawyer would be brought before the New Zealand Lawyers Disciplinary Tribunal if they were convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment and the conviction brought the industry into disrepute.

Mr Ellis says the tribunal would have to be satisfied that there was sufficient gravity in the charge to warrant someone to be struck off.