A Sydney law firm that has encouraged individuals required to wear masks to avoid infection in the pandemic has been trolled for its “free advice” to ignore the requirement and face off with the Victorian government in court.
‘Free legal advice to all Victorians. Don’t wear a mask. Get a $200 fine then elect to have it determined in Court,’ the law firm, G&B Lawyers, posted on Facebook.
‘Every single one of you 6.359million Victorians can challenge the fines in court.
‘The Victorian Government won’t fight you in court. It is far too expensive for them to do so.’
G&B Lawyers are already pushing an anti-flu jab legal action and seeking funds to fight those fired for refusing to have one in a GoFundMe campaign.
The firm went further, announcing a hire: “Now hiring. A criminal lawyer based in Victoria. Must have experience in challenging fines in Courts. Expect 6 million or so fines against individuals for not wearing a mask.”
G&B partner Nathan Buckley (left) subsequently withdrew the post, explaining on the firm’s Facebook page that it was a personal decision, saying –
I take full responsibility and accountability for the post that has made media attention worldwide.It was not the provision of legal advice.It was the expression of my own personal political beliefs. As a citizen of Australia I have an implied freedom of political communication which is protected by the Constitution.My position remains that any law that attempts to mandate the wearing of a face mask in Australia is unlawful and in breach of the Constitution. This is my own political belief. It is not an expression of law or the provision of legal advice from G&B Lawyers.
The advice drew some strong protest, prncipally to the effecct that lawyers should not be giving medical advice, although there was also some support for the stance taken.
‘This is NOT legal advice!! On that logic, we can all go murder someone and the government won’t have the resources to lock us all up,’ one woman wrote.
‘Provided stupid and dangerous advice. Would not trust them to challenge a parking ticket,’ one reviewer wrote.
‘Unethical and immoral. Encouraging people to take their fines to court. So I can only assume they benefit from the cost of the clients legal fees,’ wrote another.
But many others appreciated the free advice and inundated the page with messages of support.
‘Thank you for the legal advice, it’s nice to see someone trying to help fight all this tyranny,’ one woman wrote.
Mask-wearing is now mandatory in Melbourne in a move to curb the state’s second wave of new infections with another 363 new cases confirmed on Sunday.
Management at HWL Ebsworth sent staff home for the week on July 6 after the first employee case of coronavirus was identified at the firm’s inner-city offices.
The firm had previously told staff to continue to work from the their CBD office and has now been labelled a ‘key outbreak’ by Victorian health authorities after the cluster grew from four cases last week.
As if that wasn’t enough, HWL Ebsworth also received a strong rebuke from the Premier.
‘I won’t name the law firm but we did see a firm that’s become a bit famous in recent days where they decided they wouldn’t allow staff to work from home when clearly the vast majority of that work can be done from home. Now an outbreak in that very firm,’ Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday.
The legal firm has since reversed the decision and given staff the option to work from home.
All of our Melbourne based professional staff that can work from home have been directed to do so,’ managing partner Juan Martinez said in a statement to media.
‘Those team members that cannot work from home are operating on tailored arrangements, and our office environment has been set up to ensure that anyone that needs to work from the office can do so in a safe way.’
‘We have been liaising very closely with the Department of Health & Human Services to ensure that we are complying in full with their directions.’
Victoria’s horror outbreak has continued with another 363 new cases confirmed on Sunday, prompting a government directive for face masks to be worn in public.