Australia: NSW – Police prosecutor avoids disciplinary hearing over ‘vile’ Facebook posts

Australian Lawyers Weekly reports

An NSW police prosecutor has avoided a referral to the Legal Services Commissioner for vilifying his late father’s wife in a number of Facebook posts that included accusing her of being a “thief and a murderer” and referring to her as a “black widow, a grim reaper, a wicked witch” who he alleged played a role in the death of his father.

The NSW Supreme Court made a ruling that police prosecutor Clint Nasr would not be referred to the Legal Services Commissioner over “vile” Facebook posts he made about his late father’s wife and instead concluded that publishing its reasons would be a sufficient warning to Mr Nasr and other practitioners of their duties to the court.

In October, the court heard that Mr Nasr had vilified his late father’s wife over many months with a view of changing the views of the local community “in a way which sits very uneasily with the responsibilities courts place upon legal practitioners”. The posts, which were made in a private capacity, alleged that the father’s wife was “evil” and was “hell-bent” on murdering his father during the last few months of his life.

Mr Nasr was permitted to be heard on this matter before the Supreme Court made a decision about whether this conduct should be referred to a legal body for further investigation. The affidavit touched on his Facebook posts in addition to the installation of two hidden cameras and a dossier of material that was handed to police with the view of having them lay charges against his late father’s wife.

“Mr Nasr is correct to state that his conduct did not occur in connection with the practice of law; were that so, I would have no hesitation in referring him to the Legal Services Commissioner,” Supreme Court Judge Mark Leeming commented.

“Although I consider that Mr Nasr has less insight into his conduct than might be expected of a legal practitioner, I think that given the history he has recounted, it is unlikely that anything that might ensue from such an investigation would have any more beneficial effect than the publication of these reasons, which themselves would operate as sufficient enough warning to Mr Nasr and to other [practitioners].”

Judge Leeming noted that Mr Nasr’s affidavit acknowledged fault but that he often blamed others and, more seriously, made allegations of procedural unfairness.

In one claim, Mr Nasr said the practice adopted by the wife’s counsel in tendering his Facebook posts “precluded me the fundamental process of being heard”. Judge Leeming disagreed, clarifying that the Facebook posts were annexed to an earlier affidavit of the wife and were read into evidence without objection. It should have come as no surprise to Mr Nasr that he would be asked to answer to the posts.

Mr Nasr also claimed that the opposing counsel subpoenaed police documents “at the 11th minute in the 11th hour” and that the wholesale tendering of those documents precluded him the fundamental process to be heard. The court again objected to this, explaining that all documents were given to Mr Nasr’s solicitors.




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