The Law Society has recommended that James Gardiner-Hopkins, the former Russell McVeagh partner found guilty of disgraceful sexual misconduct involving summer interns at the firm, be struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors.
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Gardner-Hopkins was found guilty on six charges of misconduct by the Law Society’s Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal. Five charges related to the summer clerks during the 2015 Christmas function in Wellington and the sixth related to a function at his home.
A penalty ruling against the barrister has seen appeals heard in the Auckland High Court, with the Standards Committee and Gardiner-Hopkins cross appealing the penalty decision by the Law Society committee, with the Law Society seeking his disbarrment.
The tribunal found Gardner-Hopkins’ behaviour met the test of being “disgraceful or dishonourable” and ordered that he be suspended for two years and pay costs of $108,008.
Earlier this year, the tribunal then ordered he serve a two-year suspension, which began on February 7, and pay a combined $108,008 in costs.