A PROMINENT lawyer has been suspended from practice for five years.
Suva lawyer Rajendra Chaudhry was found guilty by the Independent Legal Services Commission for one count of professional misconduct and another count of unsatisfactory conduct.
Suspended for four years is another lawyer Kini Marawai, who was found guilty of two counts of unsatisfactory professional conduct and one count of professional misconduct.
While sentencing them, Independent Legal Services Commissioner Justice Paul Madigan ordered both lawyers to pay $1000 each to the commission and the Legal Practitioners Unit of the Chief Registrar's Office.
Justice Madigan ordered Mr Chaudhry and Mr Marawai be re-certified as a practitioner by the Chief Registrar (CR) on proof of having undertaken five hours of training in legal ethics by an institution or tutor acceptable to the CR.
Justice Madigan said Mr Marawai's charges emanated from his conduct when he appeared for Indian national Muskan Balaggan in June, 2011, when she made an accusation of rape and sexual abuse against Mr Chaudhry.
Balaggan subsequently withdrew the allegation and was sentenced by the Suva Magistrate's Court to two years imprisonment for the charge of giving false information to a public servant.
Justice Madigan said Mr Chaudhry's charge was related to Balaggan and one count of unsatisfactory professional conduct in the discourteous way he made reference to a judge of the High Court in a letter which he furnished to the CR.
In mitigation, Mr Marawai, 58, said he had been practising for almost 20 years.
However, Justice Madigan said in his mitigation Mr Marawai refused to understand the seriousness of his conduct in claiming there was no deceit or fraud practised on Balaggan and he should be rewarded with a lenient penalty.
Mr Chaudhry, 45, with seven years practice since admission, is married with a young child. In sentencing Mr Chaudhry, Justice Madigan ordered that in order to hand over his current matters, he be allowed to remain in practice for the next 21 days until 5pm on October 26, however, in that period he is not to appear in court, nor accept any new instructions from either existing or new clients.
Mr Marawai remains suspended until March 1, 2016, while Mr Chaudhry remains suspended until March 1, 2017.