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Prominent defence lawyer struck off

NZ Newswire September 14, 2012, 1:32 pm
Prominent defence lawyer struck off

Lawyer Barry Hart has been struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors for professional misconduct.

The high profile Auckland defence lawyer was last month found guilty of overcharging clients by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.

On Friday the tribunal struck him off the roll, preventing the 71-year-old from practising as a lawyer.

The tribunal in August found that a fee of $35,000 charged by Mr Hart "gross overcharging" and he had failed to inform clients about his fees.

The New Zealand Law Society says the decision to strike off Mr Hart was not taken lightly.

"Striking off is a severe penalty. It obviously has serious consequences for the lawyer who is struck off. However, as the legislation, the tribunal and our courts have stressed, the main purpose of striking off is to protect the community and maintain the standards of the legal profession," said its president Jonathan Temm.

Mr Temm says the tribunal had stressed that a lawyer's approach to an investigation was a crucial factor and was particularly critical of what it described as "the arrogant and derisory manner" in which Mr Hart had approached any complaint of his conduct.

Mr Hart has represented high profile criminals such as Samurai sword attacker and convicted killer Antonie Dixon and career criminal Arthur Taylor.

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