Former Hamilton lawyer John Campion has been suspended by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal from practising for two years from 17 October 2019.
Mr Campion was found guilty of unsatisfactory conduct by the Tribunal on 19 July 2019 ( NZLCDT 20). There were three sets of charges, under the Law Practitioners Act 1982 and the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006. They alleged a large number of professional failures relating to the administration of estates, and of trusts. Some of the alleged failures involved an examination of Mr Campion’s dual role as a lawyer and a trustee.
The Tribunal noted that Mr Campion does not currently hold a practising certificate. It said he was elderly and in poor health at times. However, it said his conduct in the course of the disciplinary proceedings had deprived him of potential mitigating features of remorse and insight.
In considering an appropriate penalty, the Tribunal said it considered Mr Campion’s offending to be at the high end of misconduct. It said the primary aggravating feature was his previous disciplinary history which extended back to 2012.
The Tribunal accepted the submission of the lawyers standards committee which brought the proceedings that given the extent of Mr Campion’s failures, his extensive disciplinary history, and his failure to engage with the disciplinary process, a suspension from practice was necessary to mark the seriousness of his misconduct.
To properly uphold professional standards, to provide personal and general deterrence and to confirm that the Tribunal would not treat lightly such serious breaches of expected standards, it considered that a suspension of two years was required.
As well as suspending Mr Campion, the Tribunal ordered him to pay compensatory orders of $19,146 and total costs of $43,549.