A lawyer who smuggled an iPhone, cigarettes and a lighter to her client in prison has been struck off.
Davina Valerie Murray was struck off from the roll of barristers and solicitors following a New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal penalty hearing today.
On December 16 last year, the Tribunal had found the former Auckland lawyer had been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment and that the conviction reflected her fitness to practise while bringing the legal profession into disrepute.
Murray was convicted under the Corrections Act for delivering an Apple iPhone, cigarettes and cigarette lighter to her client in Mt Eden Prison and was sentenced to 50 hours’ community work.
The New Zealand Law Society
declined to renew her practising certificate.
The offending seriously threatened the easier access lawyers get to their clients in prison compared to that given to other visitors, Law Society president Chris Moore said.
“Ms Murray’s actions were a flagrant disregard of the mutual trust and respect between a lawyer and prison authorities. The access rights lawyers enjoy are privileges which must be strongly respected and honoured by lawyers as they support our whole justice system.
“The abuse of that relationship has brought the legal profession into disrepute. It also caused a review of prison security and has resulted in increased restrictions on visits between lawyers and prisoners. The Tribunal decision is fully justified.”
No costs were ordered as Murray received legal aid. She has an appeal to the High Court against the December finding that the disciplinary charge was proven.