Murray Withers struck off roll of barristers and solicitors
Murray Ian Withers struck off roll of barristers and solicitors
Christchurch lawyer Murray Ian Withers has been struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.
Mr Withers was found guilty of three charges of misconduct brought by a New Zealand Law Society standards committee.
The first charge related to his failure to meet an undertaking to the Christchurch City Council to pay fees due for a property development in which Mr Withers had an interest through a company shareholding.
On the second charge he was found to have acted deceptively in not disclosing a personal interest when acting as a lawyer for a trust. Mr Withers failed to disclose that he was a shareholder and director of a company borrowing money from the trust and purchasing land from the trust.
The third charge found that he had acted deceptively in continuing to conceal his personal interest in the company when it failed to repay the loan and Mr Withers tried to renegotiate repayment terms with the client trust to advantage the company.
New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore said the tribunal’s decision showed it was vital for lawyers to ensure they disclosed any personal interests they might have which could cause a conflict with the interests of their clients.
“The relationship between lawyer and client is one of confidence and trust that must never be abused,” he said.
“Any undisclosed interest which a lawyer might have is a direct threat to that relationship of confidence and trust.”