New Zealand Law Society - Lawyers Complaints Service: Suspension follows drink driving conviction

Lawyers Complaints Service: Suspension follows drink driving conviction

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Jason Miles Pou of Rotorua has been censured and suspended for two months from 13 December 2014 by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal [2014] NZLCDT 86.

This followed Mr Pou’s conviction for a third drink driving offence and an offence of driving while disqualified.

Mr Pou admitted one charge of “having been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment and the conviction reflects upon his fitness to practise or tends to bring the profession into disrepute”.

One important submission concerning the length of any suspension was the nature of Mr Pou’s current work, the Tribunal noted.

“We accept that he is practising in a specialised area of work and has been for some years engaged on lengthy and important cases before the Waitangi Tribunal which are simply not able to be passed on at short notice to other counsel.”

It was therefore in the public interest that his suspension “which we considered inevitable, be kept to the minimum in order that he may properly continue his obligations to his clients,” the Tribunal said.

The Tribunal said it considered the overall assessment of penalty to be on a similar footing to a practitioner suspended for three months. Mr Pou should be treated more leniently, because his offending did not include the element of disrespect and disobedience towards the police.

The Tribunal also took into account mitigating factors such as community contribution and the fact that Mr Pou had no previous disciplinary history.

As well as the censure and suspension, Mr Pou was ordered to pay the Law Society $9,253 standards committee costs and $2,890 Tribunal costs.

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