High-profile lawyer ‘knew he was breaking the law’
AN embattled Brisbane criminal lawyer charged with fraud and money laundering offences has lost a bid to have convictions for breaching his bail overturned with a judge saying he had shown "a demonstrated disregard" for the court.
High-profile solicitor Adam Magill pleaded guilty in August to five offences of breaching bail by contacting people he had been barred from communicating with as part of his bail conditions.
During a hearing in the Court of Appeal last month, Magill's legal counsel argued the sentences for two of five bail breaches, where convictions were recorded, were excessive and could affect his ability to practice law.
But Judge Jennifer Rosengren this morning dismissed the appeal, ruling the sentencing magistrate had not made an error.
"While Mr Magill's employment as an experienced solicitor in criminal law is not an overwhelming aggravating factor, it cannot be ignored in the sentencing process," Judge Rosengren wrote in her decision.
"As a solicitor, he is professionally obliged to uphold the laws, not break them.
"The community had the right to expect he would do so."
In December, the Queensland Law Society found Magill was not a fit and proper person to practise law.
He has since lost a bid to have the ban on him working as a lawyer temporarily lifted, and a review of the decision to cancel his practising certificate is yet to be held.
"There is no evidence to suggest that Mr Magill did not understand the importance of his the duty to uphold the law, or of the unlawfulness of not complying with his bail conditions," Judge Rosengren found.
"To the contrary, he knew very well that he was breaking the law.
"Therefore, the significance of Mr Magill's profession as a solicitor lies in his demonstrated disregard for the authority of the Court."
The Crime and Corruption Commission alleges Magill was taking cash payments from clients without lodging them through his firm's trust accounts and in some cases, doubling up with Legal Aid funding.
The court heard Magill breached bail conditions by meeting business partner Neil Lawler for a three-hour lunch and then a drinking session in Fortitude Valley last year.
He had only been allowed contact with Mr Lawler to discuss work matters.
Magill also breached bail conditions by attending the bar Mr Mista, where Lam Quoc Ta, who was on his no-contact list, was having a birthday party for his partner.
In June, last year, Magill was fined $1200 for breaching a bail condition by phoning and text messaging a barrister, whom he was barred from contacting, in November, 2018.
Judge Rosengreen also refused an application by Magill's legal team to adduce new evidence in relation to the bail breaches.