Dan Carter confirms French deal, will leave NZ Rugby next year

Lawyer claims Barry Hart singled out

Last updated 17:17 10/12/2012
Barry Hart
STRUCK OFF: Barry Hart.

Relevant offers

National News

Drunk Australian soldier killed running to Christchurch Woman mistook heart attack for food poisoning Spark, Vodafone confirm trans-Tasman cable plan Woodcock: Black marks for Black Caps ODI Top five uses for a shipping container Phillip John Smith factsheet released Judge orders handover of Nicky Hager raid documents Police ordered to hand over Nicky Hager search documents Auckland City fall in thrilling Fifa Club World Cup semifinal Third time lucky for lonely lost seal pup

Struck off lawyer Barry Hart has been singled out for punishment because he was prepared to "stand up to the system" and that may have made him "unpopular in some circles", says his lawyer.

A veteran of criminal defence law, Hart is appealing against being struck off as a barrister after being found guilty of professional misconduct earlier this year.

The Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal found that Hart had overcharged fees, obstructed a Auckland District Law Society investigation and did not pay the full amount to a private investigator he had hired.

Lawyers for Hart, who also faces bankruptcy proceedings later this week after ANZ Bank went after him for $30 million, told the High Court at Auckland today that the perceived overcharging was not grounds for ending Hart's illustrious legal career.

Hart's lawyer Jeremy Bioletti argued the clients who said he had overcharged them had actually received value for their money.

Lawyers for the New Zealand Law Society previously argued the work Hart had done for a particular criminal client could have been done for $15000, instead of the $35000 that Hart charged.

But Bioletti said that clients paid lawyers for results, and Hart had succeeded in securing both name suppression and bail for his client whose offending was at the top end of Crimes Act offences.

"People spend millions of dollars defending themselves from criminal charges in this town," Bioletti said.

He said it was a failure in Hart's communication of the costs that led to the overcharging complaint, not a systematic exploitation of vulnerable people.

If he was in the wrong, the striking off penalty was excessive and there were other sanctions that could have been placed on Hart instead, he said.

Hart's lawyers also argued that the decision of the tribunal to proceed with the hearing despite Hart being unable to attend because of illness led to a miscarriage of justice.

Hart had intended to defend himself at the hearing but instead supplied a doctor's certificate which said he was not fit to work.

The tribunal decided to continue with the hearing because it had already been delayed a number of times, mostly due to Hart's actions.

The hearing continues.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content