A judge has refused to drop the criminal charges handed down against a lawyer accused by a former client of falsely claiming the client was a victim of sexual assault.
The NSW Supreme Court heard that former partner of the client told a barrister that the client had had consensual sex with a man at the time.
The lawyer, who did not want to be named, told the court he was surprised when he heard the allegation and asked for more information.
He told the NSW Supreme Council that he was satisfied there was no sexual assault and the matter should be referred to the NSW Police for investigation.
Justice James MacPherson said there was evidence the barrister had not acted out of fear and had acted out his own beliefs.
“I am satisfied there is not any sexual assault or anything of that nature, nor did he give any evidence that was false,” Justice MacPhersons statement read.
“The matters I have dealt with are not in my remit and I do not think it is appropriate to impose a sentence of imprisonment on the barris client.”
Justice Macpherson heard the case was brought by the barrist’s former client in a case that had a significant impact on the client’s life.
The barrister, who was not identified, told Justice Macphersons the man had told him he was “not sexually assaulted” when he was with the man at a Sydney pub in March 2015.
The man was with his girlfriend, but the woman’s mother was the alleged victim.
The woman was at a friend’s house when the incident happened, the barristry said.
The case had a huge impact on Mr Macphers son, who had to leave school and was struggling financially.
He has since moved to another city and had to work part time.
Justice Mac Phersons decision will not have any immediate impact on whether or not a trial is to take place in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.
The matter is still before the NSW Criminal Court, which is expected to rule on the matter in April.
The Supreme Court case heard that Mr Macpherson was told the man’s family had made allegations against the barriser.
In an affidavit, the man told the judge he believed the barriste had been “bribed and pressured” by the family, the court heard.
The court heard Mr MacPhearson had had a conflict with his father, who he was dating, because he was a barriser at the same time.
Mr Mac Phearson’s wife, the former barrister’s sister, also said she believed the client should be jailed for six months for falsely alleging the victim had been raped.
“In my opinion, the whole case should have been referred to police,” she said.
Mr Justice MacPsons decision did not mean he would not refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service, or to the courts, which are the authorities that can investigate the allegation.
However, he said it would not be appropriate to prosecute the barristers case for perjury, as it did not fit within the scope of his remit.