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Lawyer suspended from legal practice

Lawyer suspended from legal practice

The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has suspended a lawyer from legal practice.

Auckland barrister John Alan van der Zanden has been suspended from practice for a period of three months.

The tribunal upheld a charge brought by the New Zealand Law Society of negligence or incompetence which was of such a degree as to bring his profession into disrepute.

Although the tribunal found that it was not done knowingly, Mr van der Zanden had misled the Court of Appeal in two affidavits he swore which incorrectly stated that the Crown accepted home detention as the sentence in a District Court sentencing.

The tribunal found the first affidavit he prepared was “sloppy” and that he should have been aware of the rigour required for preparation of evidence supporting an appeal for a person in custody, and when alleging prosecutorial misconduct.

In respect of the second affidavit, the tribunal found the manner in which it was prepared was utterly reckless.

Law Society National Prosecutions Manager Mark Treleaven says the duty of honesty a lawyer has to the court is an absolute one and that a lawyer must not mislead or deceive the court.

“If lawyers mislead courts the public will lose confidence in the administration of justice, as the integrity and honesty of all lawyers is paramount to its reputation,” he says.

Mr van der Zanden was ordered to take advice in relation to the management of his practice and to undergo practical training and education as directed by the Law Society. He was also ordered to pay some of the Law Society’s costs of the hearing.


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