Former Auckland lawyer Gang "Richard" Chen has been suspended for two years from 24 March 2017 by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.
Mr Chen admitted having been convicted of five criminal offences, four of which were punishable by imprisonment and tended to bring his profession into disrepute. The convictions included two for driving with excess breach alcohol, two for driving while disqualified, and one for careless driving.
The Tribunal found wilful and deliberate misconduct proven for his failure to declare his convictions to the New Zealand Law Society over a six year period.
As part of yearly applications for the renewal of his practising certificate Mr Chen completed forms that required him to state whether he had obtained any convictions and to disclose any matters that might affect his continuing eligibility for a practising certificate. He did not disclose his convictions when he applied to renew his practising certificate and neither did he disclose them when he applied to practise on his own account.
The Chair of the Tribunal, Judge Dale Clarkson, said the New Zealand Law Society must rely on the honesty and integrity of lawyers to self-report any matter which might reflect on the reputation of the profession as a whole.
"When one person falls below the standards of the profession, the whole profession is harmed. It is a privilege to belong to such a profession but it carries with it these broader and collectively-held obligations," she said.
In addition to suspending Mr Chen the Tribunal censured him, fined him $5,000, and ordered him to pay the New Zealand Law Society costs of $10,125 and to reimburse hearing costs of $2,271.