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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Dillon [1848] NSWSupC 63

legal profession, discipline

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Full Court, 13 July 1848

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 14 July 1848, in Supreme Court Collection, Vol. 2, p. 97 [1]

BEFORE the Full Court.

QUEEN v. JOHN DILLON, GENT., &c.

This gentleman, it may be remembered, on the 8th December last, was suspended on account of malpractices, from practising his profession as solicitor, &c., for three calendar months. Notwithstanding this suspension, and whilst the term was unexpired, the same gentleman appeared and practised in the Court of Requests and Police Court, Sydney, as a solicitor; on this ground another application had been made against him, for contempt of the above rule of suspension. In showing cause, however, to this, it was contended, on his behalf, that the practising in the Court of Requests was no infraction of that rule, as there was in that Court a distinct roll of practitioners, and as that Court was separate from this, suspension from the one would not necessarily imply a suspension from the other, the Court yielded to this argument; and as to the practising in the Police Court, it appeared that Mr. Dillon had obtained, prior to doing so, the opinion of two learned counsel, to the effect that he might, notwithstanding his suspension in the superior Court, practise in the Police Court as a solicitor. The majority of the Court held, however, by the practising in the latter Court, he had infracted the rule of this Court; but, under the circumstances indicated, that the infraction was not a wilful one, and accordingly the rule nisi was discharged. This took place on the 23rd day of December. On the following day, Mr. Dillon misconceiving the latter part of the judgment of the Court, practised again as solicitor in the Police Court. During the last term, a rule nisi was obtained against him, calling upon him to show cause why he should not be held in contempt for the last infraction of the rule of suspension; the rule nisi was ultimately made absolute, by the Court holding that he was in contempt; afterwards proceedings were taken before the Prothonotary of the Court, by interrogatories and answers, for the purpose of affording him an opportunity to come in and purge himself of his contempt. The Prothonotary now read his report, founded upon the interrogatories and answers. He did not find distinctly whether Mr. Dillon was in contempt or not, but merely found that he had insufficiently answered two of the interrogatories.

Mr. BROADHURST appeared for Mr. Dillon, and contended that not only were the answers complained of technically, but sufficiently answered; and that being the case, the contempt was purged.

Mr. LOWE, contra, prayed the judgment of the Court. It was quite clear that Mr. Dillon had not exculpated himself. Though the report of the Prothonotary were not conclusive, yet that, coupling what does appear on it, with the prior decision of the Court, finding him in contempt, it was beyond a doubt he had not by his answers cleared himself.

His Honor the CHIEF JUSTICE, after referring to the above facts, said, that the report of the Prothonotary certainly did not find Mr. Dillon in contempt, yet that its tendency was that way. However, it was quite certain he had not cleared himself by his answers of the contempt the Court had found him guilty of; he has had ample opportunity to do so, and he might have done so in plain and distinct language. When the Court suspended him for three months, he was dealt with leniently, as the Court were then of opinion that the conduct pursued by him arose out of ignorance of his profession, and suspended him for the time mentioned, that he might study that profession. The party who had prosecuted this gentleman must already have incurred great expense, and it was nothing but just that some of those expenses should be returned to him. The judgment of the Court was, that Mr. Dillon's recognizances should be enlarged until the last day of this term, the Court intimating, that if he should produce to the Court on that day a receipt from the attorney of the prosecutor that he had paid to him £15 on account of the costs incurred, then that judgment would not be delivered; but if on that day such receipt were not produced, then the judgment of the Court would be delivered.

Notes

[1] See also Austin v. Dillon, 1847; Austin v. Dillon, 1848.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University