Should have been struck off long ago

March 20th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A lawyer struck off for smuggling contraband to a convicted murderer had previously been censured for billing her dead ex-partner’s estate for work she did for him for free.

Disgraced lawyer Davina Murray was struck off as a lawyer in February after she pleaded guilty to smuggling contraband to convicted murderer and rapist Liam Reid. 

The  Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal released reasons for its decision Wednesday and said Murray had previously had three adverse findings in her short, five-year legal career.

So four strikes in total!

In her first offence, she directly received fees from a client and then failed to obtain an order as instructed.

In what the Tribunal called a “very serious” matter, she acted for a man she was intimately involved with while he was involved in a domestic-related dispute. 

Further, after she broke up with the man she “communicated directly with her former partner’s wife and disclosed confidential information to her against her client/former partner’s interests”.

After the man committed suicide, Murray billed his estate for $67,500 despite “numerous emails and details of communications in which Ms Murray had made it plain that she was providing legal services to her then partner at no cost”.

Very lucky to not have been struck off then.

The tribunal said it was “strongly of the view that Ms Murray is not a fit and proper person to continue in legal practice”. 

“The entire picture presented by her offending, her subsequent conduct and her previous disciplinary history is of a practitioner with little or no understanding of her ethical obligations to clients, her profession or the institutions of justice.”

I’d say no, rather than little.

What are the threats related to?

June 24th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

 A controversial lawyer has contacted police after receiving chilling death and rape threats over her fight to clear the name of a convicted murderer and rapist.

Except the threats are not over the fight to clear his name, it is over the charges laid against her for allegedly smuggling contraband to him.

Regardless it must be stressed any threats of violence are wrong and repugnant. Those who want to express their displeasure can do so without lowering themselves in such a way.

Davina Murray is crusading on behalf of Liam Reid, who is serving a 23-year sentence for brutally raping and slaying deaf woman Emma Agnew in Christchurch in 2007, and the rape, attempted murder and robbery of a 21-year-old student in Dunedin nine days later.

Murray, who is facing two charges of allegedly smuggling Reid an iPhone, cigarettes and a lighter at Mt Eden prison last October, visited Reid 80 times over nine months last year.

I suspect that is what had led to anger, rather than merely campaigning to “clear” his name.

Murray said she first received abuse from the same person in April, the day after she lost a bid for her continued name suppression at Auckland’s High Court over the smuggling allegations.

The first email, dated April 17, said: “You’re no better than he is. When you are sentenced you should get your wish and be chucked in the cell with the creep and you can find out first hand what he did to his victim.”

“I had told the High Court that releasing my name and that of Liam Reid could compromise my personal safety, but that was ignored,” she told the Herald on Sunday.

“Since then I have been used to people shouting things like ‘you smuggler’ at me when I am at work.

That is not a case for name suppression. That is a case for not smuggling things into prison (if the allegations are correct and hold up in court).


Maori Party candidate charged with helping murderer

April 16th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Ian Steward at Stuff reports:

Auckland lawyer and Maori Party political candidate Davina Murray has been charged with illegally smuggling contraband to convicted murderer and rapist Liam Reid, who she believes is innocent.

Murray lost her name suppression today after she and her lawyer Barry Hart had battled for months to keep her name secret.

Murray was charged with delivering an iPhone 4, a packet of Marlboro cigarettes and a Bic lighter to Reid at Mount Eden prison on October 7 last year – two months after a smoking ban was introduced.  

She had a new charge laid earlier this month of “holding a communication with him that might prejudice the safe custody of a prisoner” – in essence, passing on inappropriate information.

Reid is serving one of New Zealand’s heaviest sentences for the 2007 rape and murder of deaf Christchurch woman Emma Agnew and the rape and attempted murder of another woman in Dunedin soon after.

He was originally sentenced to preventive detention with a 26-year minimum period, but that was later reduced to 23 years on appeal.

Murray is understood to have visited Reid frequently and had communications with him at Mt Eden prison.

It is alleged that Reid was searched before one of their visits and had nothing on him, but after the visit he was found to have an iPhone, cigarettes and a lighter.

Murray stood for the Maori Party as a list candidate in the 2011 election.

She is a criminal barrister in the chambers of Hart, a prominent defence lawyer.

Hart had argued Murray should keep her name suppression as her reputation would be irreparably damaged and she and her family might suffer adverse consequences from being named.

Yes the reputation is damaged – if she is found guilty. And if she is guilty, her reputation should be damaged.

Liam Reid is not a good person. Even putting aside the rape and murder of Emma Agnew and the Dunedin rape, he had 61 previous convictions before that.  If she is found guilty, the Maori Party should dump her as a candidate.