Auckland barrister Anthony David Banbrook has been struck off the roll by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.
He did not appear at the hearing which was held on 2 November 2017 and he did not file any response to the charges. The tribunal issued the reasons for its decision on 30 November.
It found five charges of serious misconduct against Mr Banbrook to be proved. These included providing legal services when he was suspended from practising as a lawyer, placing improper pressure on the complainant (who was a client) to withdraw a complaint, and not advising the complainant to seek independent legal advice.
Mr Banbrook had been suspended from practice for seven months by order of the Tribunal with effect from 15 July 2014 to 14 February 2015.
The Tribunal said Mr Banbrook acted in clear disregard of the order suspending him from practice as a barrister and attempted to conceal the true nature of the legal work he was undertaking.
New Zealand Law Society President Kathryn Beck says Mr Banbrook’s behaviour illustrated a serious neglect of the standards of professionalism required from a lawyer.
“Practising law while under a suspension order shows he made a conscious decision not to comply with it. He showed a reckless disregard for the disciplinary process and the only available conclusion is a strike off to uphold the reputation and standards of the legal profession,” she says.
The Tribunal ordered Mr Banbrook to pay $10,000 in compensation to the complainant. It also ordered him to pay $56, 349.20 in costs to the New Zealand Law Society and to refund $3,516 in Tribunal costs to the Law Society.
The Tribunal noted that Anthony Banbrook had a previous disciplinary history in that there was a finding of conduct unbecoming of a barrister and solicitor in 1991. And from 2010 to 2016 there were four findings of unsatisfactory conduct along with a conviction of an offence punishable by imprisonment.