Judge concerned for Hart's willingness
Mon, 16 Jul 2012 6:22p.m.
By Amanda Gillies
A prominent defence lawyer who allegedly overcharged a client $35,000 failed to turn up to his disciplinary hearing today, calling in sick.
But Barry Hart's doctor refused to front the Tribunal to give any more information.
Hart hoped the hearing would be adjourned, but the judge insisted it go ahead without him.
The Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal panel was there. So were too the lawyers, the witnesses and the media.
But missing was the defendant. A medical certificate stated the prominent 70-year-old defence lawyer had chest pains, breathing difficulties and fatigue.
The Law Society said this wasn't enough to justify his absence.
“It's not, for example, as if he's in hospital and traction or some such thing,” said Law Society lawyer Paul Collins.
Hart's doctor was called, but he refused to front at the tribunal.
The judge then declined Hart's request for an adjournment, noting this was the fourth time the hearing had been scheduled. She said the delay was extraordinary.
“The tribunal holds grave concerns for Mr Hart's willingness to take part in this hearing,” said Judge Dale Clarkson.
Hart's lawyer Nigel Cooke immediately withdrew, but not before a last minute plea.
“This man is facing serious and horrendous commercial problems completely outside the scope of this hearing,” said Mr Cooke. “I've seen the man deteriorate physically and mentally over a period of time.”
3 News caught up with Hart last month over claims he owed the bank $30 million.
Hart now faces misconduct charges, including allegations he overcharged a client by $35,000. He denies everything.
If he does turn up to the hearing, it's expected he will represent himself.
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6/09/2012 11:27:13 a.m.
That asshole overcharged me by $20,000 too!
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