TWO lawyers have been found guilty of professional misconduct by the Independent Legal Services Commission.
Commissioner Justice Paul Madigan in the judgment said the two counts of unsatisfactory professional conduct and one count of professional misconduct against Kini Marawai was established.
He also said one count of professional misconduct and another count of unsatisfactory conduct against Rajend Chaudhry was established.
The commission said on January 26, 2011, Indian national Muskan Balaggan was arrested at Nadi International Airport when she was enroute to Melbourne. She was charged with a drug trafficking offence.
Mr Chaudhry appeared in mid-September, in the Suva Magistrates Court, asking the court to ask the accused if she consented to his appearance in order to advance mitigation. She consented.
On September 29, Mr Chaudhry appeared and applied to the court to have the guilty plea vacated a new plea entered.
The magistrate refused, adding that she was of the view that coercion was a point of mitigation and not to be advanced as a defence to the charge. Balaggan was sentenced on the same day.
On October 12, Mr Chaudhry filed an appeal against conviction and sentence. On March 16, this year, Justice Goundar was of the view that Mr Chaudhry was acting in conflict of interest and referred the matter to the Chief Registrar for an independent inquiry as to the professional conduct of Mr Chaudhry and Mr Marawai.