Disgraced former Brisbane criminal lawyer Tim Meehan will be struck off the roll of solicitors in a final blow to his once-high flying legal career, with his actions described by a judge as a case of “profound and protracted dishonesty engaged by a solicitor”.
- Now out on parole, Tim Meehan’s lawyers asked the QCAT to let him remain on the legal roll so he could return to practising law
- Justice Martin Daubney said there was no independent evidence of good character or rehabilitation by Meehan
- Meehan also ordered to pay the Legal Services Commissioner’s legal costs
Meehan, whose clients included Daniel Morcombe’s killer, Brett Peter Cowan, was sentenced to five and a half years in jail in 2017 after pleading guilty to aggravated fraud of more than $30,000 and fraudulently falsifying records.
The Legal Services Commission took action against Meehan in a bid to have his name removed from the roll.
But the 43-year-old, who was released on parole in December, asked the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to let him remain on the legal roll so he could return to practise law.
The tribunal today recommended Meehan’s name be struck off for professional misconduct.
Such an order is only made when there is a probability a lawyer is permanently unfit to practise.
In a 24-page decision, QCAT president Justice Martin Daubney described Meehan’s actions as a case of “profound and protracted dishonesty engaged by a solicitor”.
While he said Meehan had no previous disciplinary or criminal history — and cooperated with authorities — there was no independent evidence of good character or rehabilitation.
“They bespeak a character tainted by dishonesty,” Justice Daubney wrote.
“It is certainly the case that there has been no persuasive evidence placed before this tribunal to demonstrate that the position of [Mr Meehan], so far as his fitness to practise is concerned, is now any different from the protracted period during which the professional misconduct occurred.”
According to the decision, Meehan told the tribunal that, with the support of his partner, he hoped “to reintegrate into society” following his stint in prison.
“I do not expect this to be easy — I know I must work to restore people’s trust in me,” he said.
Meehan’s fraud charges stemmed from an investigation by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).
He voluntarily surrendered his practising certificate in 2016.
His 2017 sentencing hearing in the Supreme Court in Brisbane was told 19 clients were asked to pay fees in cash, which were not deposited into the firm’s trust fund as required by law.
The prosecution estimated more than $600,000 could have been involved in the overall scheme, with Meehan possibly pocketing up to $500,000.
Meehan has been ordered to pay the Legal Services Commissioner’s legal costs.