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Suspended lawyer ‘still practising’ despite forgery allegations

Suspended lawyer ‘still practising’ despite forgery allegations

A court has ordered a suspended lawyer to stop telling clients he is a practising solicitor, as he faces serious allegations of forgery.

Claims that suspended Queensland lawyer David Allan McHenry lied to former clients that he had “fought the Law Society and won” have moved the Queensland Legal Services Commissioner to obtain a court order against the man.

According to the commissioner, a “large number of complaints” from former clients had been received concerning the solicitor’s conduct before his practising certificate was suspended by the Queensland Law Society (QLS) in March 2017.

It is understood that the commissioner’s case against Mr McHenry concerns complaints from 10 clients about allegedly false, misleading and dishonest behaviour over an eight-year period between 2004 and 2012.

Mr McHenry faces 30 charges of alleged misconduct to be heard by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal later this year.

They include a slew of claims that the practitioner made false representations to clients about the progress of their matters and falsified documentation to give his clients the impression that proceedings were afoot when nothing had been done to progress them.

One of the charges alleged that Mr McHenry falsified orders by a Federal Circuit Court judge dated March 2017.

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The commissioner also claimed that on separate occasions, Mr McHenry falsified a grant of probate, forged emails purported to come from CBA and ANZ, and that he forged emails purported to come from a barrister.

Mr McHenry was also accused of allegedly forging a summons document bearing the seal of the Supreme Court of NSW.

The solicitor was believed to have been operating in the Gladstone region for over 15 years, opening ‘Dave McHenry & Associates Lawyers’ in 2010.

The professional misconduct allegations against Mr McHenry relate both to his sole practice and when he was a partner of another Queensland firm, Chris Trevor & Associates.

The commissioner said that in October 2017, “it came to the attention of the Legal Services Commissioner that Mr McHenry telling his former clients that he had ‘fought the Law Society and won’ and that his practising certificate had been reinstated, when this was not the case”.

“The cancelling of Mr McHenry’s practising certificate meant that he was no longer permitted to practise law, or to hold himself out as entitled to do so,” a statement from the commissioner said.

Last month the Supreme Court of Queensland made an order granting the injunction.

According to the order, Mr McHenry cannot falsely represent that his practising certificate has been reinstated, engage in legal practice, and contact any clients of his former practice (either directly or indirectly).

“If he breaches the injunction, he could be held in contempt of court and face a sentence of imprisonment,” the commissioner said.

Full story originally published in Lawyers Weekly

Suspended lawyer ‘still practising’ despite forgery allegations
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