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Craig Ronald Horsley suspended for three years

Craig Ronald Horsley suspended for three years

The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has suspended Tauranga lawyer Craig Ronald Horsley from legal practice for a total of three years, running from 4 April 2014.

Mr Horsley was found guilty of misconduct on 19 March 2014 for providing regulated services to a client while in an intimate personal relationship with her.

The tribunal found that his conduct would reasonably be regarded by lawyers of good standing as disgraceful or dishonourable. It also found that he wilfully or recklessly contravened the rule requiring him to be independent and free from compromising influences or loyalties when providing services to his client.

He was suspended from practise as a barrister or solicitor for two years for this charge, commencing on the date upon which he voluntarily ceased practice.

Mr Horsley also admitted a charge of misconduct for knowingly making a false statement to the investigating New Zealand Law Society standards committee.

He had signed a statement saying he had not had a personal relationship with the client when he knew that to be false.

The tribunal suspended Mr Horsley from practice for a period of three years on that charge, to run concurrently with the suspension on the first charge.

The New Zealand Law Society’s National Prosecution Manager, Mark Treleaven, says three years is the maximum period of suspension from practice which can be imposed on a lawyer.

“The tribunal found that the acceptance of responsibility by Mr Horsley and mitigating factors were just sufficient to pull the penalty back from strike-off to the maximum period of suspension,” he says.

“It is totally unacceptable for lawyers to enter into intimate personal relationships with a client where this would compromise the independence of the lawyer. Misleading or providing false information to a Law Society investigation is also viewed extremely seriously.”


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