New Zealand Law Society - Lawyers Complaints Service: Suspended following drug convictions

Lawyers Complaints Service: Suspended following drug convictions

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Kelvin Dean Wootton (also known as Calvin Dean Wootton) has been suspended for one year by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal following his conviction on drugs charges.

The suspension will run to 3 October 2014, the tribunal ruled in [2013] NZLCDT 43.

Mr Wootton was convicted in the Auckland District Court in August 2012 of possessing methamphetamine (a Class A controlled drug) and possessing a pipe for the purpose of an offence against the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.

He pleaded guilty to both charges and was fined $250 on each count.

In correspondence with the standards committee when it was first investigating the matter, Mr Wootton recorded his apologies for his actions and noted the background circumstances to his offending, his bankruptcy and the effects of his offending on him and his family.

Pre-sentencing reports showed that he appeared genuinely remorseful and recorded that he had distanced himself from people involved with drugs with whom he had previously associated and who had introduced him to drugs.

Mr Wootton did not engage in the disciplinary process after the charge was laid.

The tribunal noted that Mr Wootton was making some efforts to rehabilitate himself and, when the matter first arose, he surrendered his practising certificate, meaning he had been out of practice nearly two years at the time of the hearing.

Mr Wootton had also agreed to undertake a drug testing regime as part of any future re-entry into the profession and had signed an undertaking to that effect with the Law Society.

As well as the suspension, Mr Wootton was ordered to pay the Law Society standards committee costs of $4,000 (about half the total sought of $7,933.91) and $1,000 tribunal costs (half the amount of $2,000).

The tribunal also approved the testing regime proposed on any application for a practising certificate, as set out in Mr Wootton’s undertaking to the Law Society.

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