Thu | May 25, 2017

Law profession under siege

Published:Monday | April 6, 2015 | 4:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The frequency in recent weeks with which attorneys-at-law have been brought before the criminal courts is, to say the least, very disturbing. That one is presumed innocent until by his plea of guilt, or by the proof of it in court, is a given. This, however, does not take away from any commentary on the embarrassing state in which the legal profession now finds itself with some members being brought before the criminal court.

In any free and democratic society, the legal profession is one of the most important bodies that is entrusted with the responsibility of defending and protecting the rights of citizens, whether within the criminal or civil courts.

A great degree of trust is placed in this profession to perform its role and not abuse it. With the situation as it now is, the belief in the notion that the legal profession is a noble one is now under siege. Canon I (b) of the Legal Profession (Canons of Professional Ethics) Rules states:

"An attorney shall at all times maintain the honour and dignity of the profession and shall abstain from behaviour which may tend to discredit the profession of which he is a member."

Canon 7 states:

"An attorney shall maintain proper accounts and observe proper accounting principles in the conduct of his accounts, especially as it regards accounts for the funds of his clients."

As lawyers, it is imperative that we uphold the canons of the profession. The efforts of the prosecuting authorities to bring to book those lawyers alleged to have fallen short of their ultimate responsibilities to their clients must not be inhibited. In the end, it can only be to the benefit of the profession if those found guilty of misconduct be removed from our midst. The law must be allowed to take its course, however sad the circumstances are now.

PETER CHAMPAGNIE

Attorney-at-Law

peter.champagnie@gmail.com