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New Zealand lawyer appeals suspension after drugs conviction
16 December 2016
A Wellington lawyer is appealing his suspension after a court convicted him of Class A drug possession.
In 2015 a New Zealand District court convicted criminal lawyer Keith Jefferies of possessing meth. The drugs had been found in a baggie at Jefferies' office alongside a meth pipe. Police also found traces of meth in his bedroom. And also in his car. This year, the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal ruled that Jefferies' behaviour was "
not becoming of a lawyer
", suspended him for six months, subjected him to a random drug testing regime and ordered that he pay nearly $11,000 in costs.
Jefferies is now appealing the suspension. His lawyer Robert Lithgow QC argued in the High Court that Jefferies thought that the drugs might help with his diabetes. He also said that Jefferies got hooked on meth when he was trying to keep alert to cope with back-to-back trials. Although presumably the tiny pink hippos dancing over the court bundles only added to the problem.
There was meth in his madness
Lithgow said his client knew he was a disgrace and accepted the censure but given the various punishments he had already received, a suspension was not appropriate. Jefferies has been allowed to continue working pending a decision on the appeal.
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