Barrister Murray Tingey’s complainant had made the complaint about the former Bell Gully partner and senior commercial litigator many years later out of a “sense of duty” towards women in the legal profession, according to the counsel representing the Law Society Standards Committee.
A meeting with Power Lawyer and Bell Gully Chairman Roger Partridge had ‘backfired’ she told the Tribunal.
The two-day hearing before the five-member Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal in Auckland concluded its hearing on Wednesday.
Tingey and the complainant gave evidence on several events that happened more than a decade ago when the pair, who were in an intermittent relationship over a five-year period, both worked at Bell Gully.
Tingey refuted accusations of hostile and confrontational behavior towards a fellow lawyer with whom he had a clandestine relationship.
Tingey practices as a commercial litigator and had been a partner at Bell Gully for 24 years, resigned from the firm in 2016. He previously headed the firm’s insolvency and litigation division.
The tribunal heard that the woman in question had been left frightened by Tingey’s threatening behavior on several occasions, and had felt that he had almost ruined her career.
Tingey has admitted to misconduct amounting to disgraceful and dishonorable conduct, but there is still much that is in dispute, according to Maria Dew KC, who made the opening submissions for the National Standards Committee.
To protect the complainant’s identity, interim suppression orders are currently in place. However, Stuff has reported that the woman in question had worked as a solicitor at Bell Gully from 2004 to 2008 and had had an intermittent secret relationship with Tingey for a period of time.
>> Looking for a new law job? We have them in Queenstown, Auckland, Wellington, New Plymouth . . Check Here
He admitted to breaking into the woman’s Ponsonby apartment in 2009, breaking down the door, grabbing her, and causing significant distress.
“I want to take responsibility for what I’ve done. I’ve never shied away from that,” Tingey said. He described the incident as “the worst thing that ever happened to me” and expressed profound regret.
He has denied that his behavior during another 2009 incident, in which he followed the woman from the office to her car in an attempt to prevent her from going on a date, was intimidating. “I don’t think she should have been scared,” he said.
Although the pair’s relationship ended in 2011, Tingey is alleged to have continued harassing the woman.
She claimed that she had previously sought help from Bell Gully’s chairman, Roger Partridge (left), regarding an earlier incident, but that her complaint had backfired. She said she had been advised to keep quiet about the relationship, and that she felt trapped in a hopeless situation.
In 2011, Tingey reportedly turned up at the woman’s home and persistently demanded to be let in, allegedly threatening to ruin her career and reveal personal information about her. The woman told the tribunal that she had taken Tingey’s threat to “poison my professional reputation” extremely seriously.