Queensland Law Society

Criminal lawyer deserves harsh penalty for illegal conduct: QLS

Queensland’s peak lawyers’ association has backed the Brisbane Supreme Court’s harsh condemnation of the deplorable and illegal actions resulting in the jailing of former high-profile criminal lawyer Tim Meehan.

Queensland Law Society President Christine Smyth on Friday (July 14) condemned Mr Meehan’s criminal behaviour – saying it had left an indelible stain on the legal profession and the vast majority of lawyers who consistently and honourably adhere to the profession’s very high standards and commitment to the rule of law and to the members of the community in which they serve.

“There are more than 11,000 ethical, dedicated and hardworking solicitors across Queensland whose reputation is no doubt called into question in very rare occasions like Mr Meehan’s where a lawyer participates in criminality,” Ms Smyth said.

“It is extremely disappointing when any lawyer abuses the trust and faith members of the public place in them and as an officer of the court deserves the harsh penalty imposed by the Supreme Court of Queensland.

“Justice Roslyn Atkinson is a very experienced judge and the sentence she has imposed reflects just how dimly the courts and the justice system views crime committed by lawyers.

“The criminality in this case is nefarious and the sentence imposed reflects just that. It also takes into account a range of other considerations, including Mr Meehan’s full cooperation with the administration of justice and his full cooperation with investigating authorities and his entering of a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity.

"In cooperating Mr Meehan has demonstrated that, at least in part, he appreciates the damage he has caused to the community’s faith in the justice system."

Ms Smyth said QLS took cases such as this very seriously and the public deserved answers when a lawyer was convicted of committing criminal acts.

The comments come after Timothy (Tim) Meehan was sentenced to imprisonment after pleading guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to one count each of aggravated fraud in excess of $30,000 and eight counts of fraudulently falsifying a record.

Ms Smyth said cases like Mr Meehan’s tarnished the otherwise exemplary work and integrity of the legal profession.

Ms Smyth said QLS sets and demands very high standards of all solicitors granted the privilege of holding a certificate allowing them to practise in Queensland and takes action when the conduct of any solicitor when they fail to meet the high standards, honesty and integrity required of all lawyers.

“Mr Meehan no longer has a Queensland Law Society practising certificate,” Ms Smyth said.

“QLS has also been working very closely with the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission and has been conducting an ongoing audit of Mr Meehan’s firm’s trust accounts.”

Mr Meehan was sentenced to five-and-a-half years imprisonment with parole eligibility after 18 months served.

ENDS
For further information, please contact Tony Keim on 07 3842 5835, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, media@qls.com.au.