At 10 am this Friday morning 5 October 2012, in VCAT at 223 William Street, Melbourne, (“William Cooper Justice Centre”) a prominent Australian journalist, lawyer and political activist, Mr James Johnson will be sentenced on two charges of “professional misconduct” and faces being banned from practising law for at least 5 years (possibly for life) as payback for blowing the whistle on widespread corruption and misconduct in Australia’s legal system.
Earlier this month, the Victorian government (in its Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal) ruled that despite a distinguished two decade career amongst the elite of the legal profession, Mr Johnson’s crime? Making comprehensive whistleblower complaints about corruption and misconduct by a number of Australian barristers, solicitors and judges – complaints that, despite their seriousness and the weight of evidence behind them, the relevant government authorities have not and will not investigate to determine whether they are true or not.
The Victorian Legal Services Commissioner, Mr Michael McGarvie, who is prosecuting Mr Johnson has asked Victoria’s VCAT Tribunal Senior Member Mr Jonathan Smithers impose a lifetime ban on Mr Johnson.
Mr Johnson has responded by filing a 500 page submission proving the truth of his allegations, including draft orders for the VCAT Member to sign, and by demanding the resignations the Legal Services Commissioner, along with Mr Jonathan Smithers of VCAT and Mr John Bowman of VCAT. In May of this year VCAT Deputy President Bowman ruled at a secret all-Government hearing “a day [and a half” before the “trial” against Mr Johnson began on 21 May, that Mr Johnson would not be allowed to produce any government evidence to defend himself to against the charges and to prove his status and rights to legal protections as a “whistleblower”. VCAT struck out 57 summonses calling for the production of substantial government records and testimony from 57 hostile witnesses, most of them prominent public servants. (Click here to view more information on James Johnson).
Read More: Australian Legislative Ethics Commission