Three legal professionals charged in probe into suspected criminal activity in Queensland

Christine Smyth

Three legal professionals have been charged with aggravated fraud after a joint Queensland police and Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into suspected criminal activity within elements of the legal profession.

A 48-year-old male lawyer from Upper Brookfield, a 32-year-old male lawyer from Camp Hill and a 29-year-old male law clerk from Toowong were this morning charged and granted watch house bail.

Queensland Law Society (QLS) president Christine Smyth said the charges flowed from the sentencing of criminal lawyer Tim Meehan, who was convicted for fraud earlier this year for activities while a partner at Bosscher Lawyers.

She said the QLS had been cooperating with the CCC for quite some time and it had been aware of the investigation.

Ms Smyth says everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence.

“The charges are serious and we will continue to monitor and cooperate with the investigating bodies,” she said.

“The lawyers that have been charged have a duty to report to the Queensland Law Society the details of the charges and the allegations against them.

“We stress these are allegations — that everybody, including lawyers — are entitled to the presumption of innocence.”

Ms Smyth said “unfortunately this matter does cast a dark cloud over the broader legal community”.

“There are more than 12,000 ethical, dedicated and hardworking solicitors across Queensland whose reputation is no doubt called into question in these rare occasions when lawyers are alleged to have participated in criminality,” she said.

“It’s extremely disappointing when any lawyer betrays the trust and the faith that the public puts in them and the QLS takes this matter very seriously.

“The public deserves answers when a lawyer is charged and found guilty of committing criminal acts.”

She said if the charges led to convictions, the QLS would use its powers in relation to the cancellation or suspension of their practising certificates.

The trio will face court on November 23, with further investigations underway.

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