A former federal MP who was convicted of 12 counts of theft over a controversial sex scandal has had his practising certificate removed, following calls to strike him off earlier this year.
Ex-member for Dobell, Craig Thomson, was found to be not a person of good fame and declared not a fit and proper person to remain on the roll of Australian lawyers this week, with orders made to have his name removed.
The removal comes after an application was launched against Mr Thomson by the prothonotary of the Supreme Court of NSW in May, arguing that he should be charged with professional misconduct and found not to be a fit and proper person to remain on the Roll of Legal Practitioners after failing to disclose his past convictions to the NSW Law Society when applying for a practising certificate in late 2016.
Mr Thomson held the title of national secretary of the Health Services Union (HSU) between 2003 and 2007. In 2014, he was convicted of 12 counts of theft and fined $25,000 after he was found to have used union credit cards to pay for escorts, restaurant meals and other personal expenses during his time in the HSU role.
In response to the court proceedings filed against him, Mr Thomson said he would not contest the application; however, he told the Law Society of NSW that he had largely acted honourably during his time in public service and can act honourably as a solicitor “if given the opportunity”. He also noted his “fragile mental condition and related mental health issues” in the correspondence.
In handing down the judgment in the NSW Court of Appeal, Justice John Basten, Justice Anthony Meagher and Acting Justice Carolyn Simpson said there was little evidence to suggest that Mr Thomson has undergone a reformation of character sufficient to justify the conclusion that he is presently a fit and proper person.
“To do so would first require that he demonstrate an appreciation of his obligation of candour in relation to that past conduct,” the court heard.
“He has not paid the penalties ordered by the Federal Court or the compensation ordered by either court or otherwise demonstrated an insight into the serious deficiencies revealed by his conduct.”
The court ordered that Mr Thomson’s name be removed from the roll. He was also ordered to pay the prothonotary’s costs of the proceedings.