Former senior lawyer appeals meth conviction

by Sol Dolor21 Oct 2016
A former senior lawyer convicted after admitting possession of methamphetamine is appealing his conviction.
Pertery Davey, the lawyer of Marc Cropper, who earlier pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing the class-A drug, argued in front of Justice Rebecca Edwards at the High Court of Auckland this week that the consequences of his client’s the conviction are out of proportion with the offending, according to a Stuff report.
Cropper, who worked for five years with major London-based firm Addleshaw Goddard before returning to New Zealand in 2013 to work at top firm Simpson Grierson, was caught along with other defendants in a police sting dubbed Operation Sienna last year.
The then 41-year-old admitted possessing at least 2.5g of methamphetamine but no more than 4.5g between June and July.
In April, Cropper was sentenced to supervision and ordered to pay a fine of $300 by Auckland District Court Judge Claire Ryan.
Ryan rejected the application by Davey for a discharge without conviction to allow his client to travel to the US to practice in information technology law, Cropper’s area of specialisation.
Judge Ryan said then that Cropper is a “high flying, high achieving, high ranking, ambitious lawyer” who decided to be involved with drugs. Cropper would have to face the consequences of his “fall from grace,” the judge said.
Davey’s arguments this week echo the arguments he made to Judge Ryan as he said Cropper is at a “critical” point in his life and career and that the conviction was an “insurmountable obstacle” to his search for work.
The lawyer noted that Cropper had completed 18 weeks of rehabilitation and that expects say Cropper won’t gain employment with his criminal history.
However, Hannah Clark who appeared for the Crown said that Cropper would still be required to inform possible employers that he was arrested and indicted even if the conviction is successfully appealed.
Furthermore, Clark noted that the Clean Slate Act would hide the conviction in seven years. She also said that being a lawyer aggravated the offending.
Davey countered by saying that telling Cropper his record would be hidden in seven years does not help the lawyer in the more immediate future.
“The Crown ...says he should have known better, but he's no different to anyone else in that position. Everyone knows taking meth is illegal and shouldn't be condoned,” Davey added, according to Stuff.
Davey also noted his client’s efforts to address his addiction.
Earlier, Judge Ryan said that Cropper is “not going to be able to hide” his offending.
She also noted that the offending involved methamphetamine, a drug known to change the behaviour of its users and impact relationships.
“If this was shop lifting or a burglary when he was 19 it would be fairly easy [to disregard], but it's not,” Judge Ryan said in denying the discharge without conviction.
“Should I give a discharge without conviction to every person who comes to my court and says, and can prove, that they're in a specialised profession?” she said.
Justice Edwards reserved her decision, Stuff said.