Mr Singh practised as a lawyer in New Zealand, Fiji and Australia. He was admitted in Queensland in 2002 but the Queensland Law Society  refused to renew his practising certificate from 1 July 2008 when it discovered (i.e. wasn’t informed) that Mr Singh had been convicted in Fiji, on 25 October 2006, of the offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Whether or not he was fit and proper for practice became an issue in disciplinary proceedings, where you can read the whole sorry story. However, the last few paragraphs of the Tribunal’s decision only affirms my view that it’s generally way better to “own up and deal with it” rather than have something like this published about you:

[49] As the recitation of the various proceedings in Fiji shows, however, he has taken every conceivable avenue of appeal in relation to his criminal conviction, and the disciplinary proceedings there. He also raised every conceivable argument to contest the proceedings before this Tribunal, all of which were without merit. He has, in earlier submissions to this Tribunal, maintained that he was entrapped by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Fiji because of its jealousy at his success in courts there.

[50] Those submissions compel the conclusion that he does not, even now, fully perceive and have real insight into the seriousness of his offending, or the fact that its elements involved an attempt to gravely subvert the proper administration of justice. Remorse is an emotion which can readily be propounded, but its actual presence is not always easy to discern. Its presence, in Mr Singh’s case, would be more readily found if his conduct in the face of a serious charge in the past decade – beginning, as the passage from the sentencing remarks set out above shows, with an absolute denial, and continuing for some years through a welter of proceedings in which legal stratagems were relentlessly used to avoid sanction – did not belie it.

[51] The Tribunal is, for these reasons, left unpersuaded that Mr Singh has (despite the long period of time which has elapsed) appreciated the seriousness of his misconduct or that, by dint of time and a better appreciation of the nature of his offending, the continuing cloud it leaves over the question of his fitness to practise has been diminished, or expunged.

[52] The offending was, on any view, of a very serious kind: it involved dishonesty which goes to the heart of the justice system. Despite the fact that it occurred almost a decade ago, nothing that has happened since can be seen to reduce or allay its seriousness and it continues to raise a grave doubt about Mr Singh’s fitness to practise. While the passage of time is material, its effects must be weighed against the events discussed earlier and, in particular, Mr Singh’s own conduct.

[53] In light of the seriousness of the original offending, and in the circumstances attaching to this matter, the Tribunal is driven to conclude that Mr Singh’s name must be removed from the local roll.

Creative commons acknowledgement for the photograph.

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