A former Auckland lawyer has been suspended by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal for two years for failing to disclose of serious driving offences.
Gang “Richard” Chen has been suspended since 24 March after he admitted to being convicted of five driving offences that he did not disclose to the New Zealand Law Society
. The criminal offences were so serious that four of them were punishable by imprisonment. He was convicted of two drink-driving charges, two driving-while-disqualified charges, and one count of careless driving.
The Tribunal said that Chen deliberately committed misconduct by not declaring his convictions to the Law Society for six years. Lawyers are required to disclose convictions or any matters which may affect eligibility to practice in their yearly practicing certificate renewal applications.
Judge Dale Clarkson, the Tribunal’s chair, said that the Law Society must rely on the honesty and integrity of lawyers, who must self-report any matter which may damage the reputation of the profession.
“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,” Clarkson said.
Chen was also fined $5,000, ordered to pay the Law Society $10,125 in costs, and reimburse $2,271 in hearing costs.
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