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Queensland Law Society Inc v Ebbett

 

[2005] QSC 223

 

SUPREME COURT OF QUEENSLAND

 

CIVIL JURISDICTION

 

BYRNE J

 

No S8333 of 2002

 

QUEENSLAND LAW SOCIETY INCORPORATED (ABN 33 423 389 441) AS RECEIVER OF THE TRUST PROPERTY OF DEBERA ANNE EBBETT

Applicant

and

 

DEBERA ANNE EBBETT

Respondent

 

BRISBANE

DATE 02/08/2005

 

SENTENCE


HIS HONOUR:  The respondent is aged 46.  She was a mature age entry student at QUT Law School.  She commenced practice in the early 1990s.  She was struck off in August of 2002 for misconduct, principally misleading the Court. 

 

She has no prior convictions of any sort.

 

There is nothing to suggest that the misconduct of which she has been convicted here involved an attempt to disguise trust account defalcation or other inappropriate dealings. The most likely explanation for the default is an unwillingness on her part to pursue in a prompt way the necessary exploration of her computer to ensure that the cash ledgers for the five or six week period towards the end of November and through December 2001 would be made available.

 

There is no suggestion that any member of the public has suffered a loss as a consequence of her default.  But the administration of the receivership was delayed, and for many months information which was necessary to complete the administration was not provided - indeed, not until October 2004, on the day on which the application to commit her for contempt of Court was heard.

 

There is no satisfactory explanation as to why the information was not provided at an earlier date.  There were troubles in the respondent's life at the time; and she may have considered that other things required her attention in priority to her compliance with the order.  But if that be the explanation, it is certainly no reasonable excuse.

 

In all the circumstances, I consider that the first breach, in respect of which there will be a conviction, need not be further punished.

 

In respect of the second, I consider that a community service order of 75 hours is appropriate.

 

Now, Mrs Ebbett, the purpose of a community service order is to enable you to work out in the community which you have  wronged by your contempt of Court a measure of punishment. The effect of the order is that you are required to perform unpaid community service for the number of hours stated in the order.  The order may be amended or revoked on your application or on the application of an authorised corrective services officer or the Director of Public Prosecutions.  If you contravene the requirements of the order you may be brought back and resentenced for the offences of which you have been convicted today.

 

The requirements of the community service order would be that you:

 

(1) must not commit another offence during the period of the order;

 

(2) must report to an authorised corrective services officer at the place and within the time stated in the order;

 

(3) must report to and receive visits from an authorised corrective services officer as directed by the officer;

 

(4) must perform in a satisfactory way community service directed by an authorised corrective services officer for the number of hours stated in the order and at times directed by the corrective services officer;

 

(5) must notify an authorised corrective services officer of every change of your place of residence or employment within two business days after the change happens;

 

(6) must not leave or stay out of Queensland without the permission of an authorised corrective services officer;

 

(7) must comply with every reasonable direction of an authorised corrective services officer.

 

Now, a community service order may only be made if you agree to the orders being made and also agree to comply with the order as made or as may later be amended.  I have in mind, as I have indicated, an order that would require you to perform unpaid community service for 75 hours.  Do you agree to that order being made and to comply with its requirements as I have stated them?

 

RESPONDENT:  Yes, your Honour.

 

HIS HONOUR:  Very well.  There will be an order for community service in the terms I have indicated.  Where shall she report, Mr Wilson?

 

MR WILSON:  Your Honour, I know there is one at Logan, but I am not sure if there is one at Browns Plains and Beaudesert. If perhaps your Honour just indicated Logan.

 

HIS HONOUR:  Report to Logan on or before the 5th of August 2005.

 

Now, costs. 

 

Order that the applicant recover from the respondent its costs of and incidental to the proceedings.  Are there any reserved costs?

 

MR PERRY:  No, there are not, your Honour.

 

HIS HONOUR:  To be assessed.  Anything further?

 

MR PERRY:  No, thank you.

 

HIS HONOUR:  I wish to express my appreciation to both of you, Mr Perry and Mr Wilson, for the helpful ways in which you have both gone about preparing your helpful and comprehensive submissions.

 

MR WILSON:  Thank you.

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Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Queensland Law Society Inc v Ebbett

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Queensland Law Society Inc v Ebbett

  • MNC:

    [2005] QSC 223

  • Court:

    QSC

  • Judge(s):

    Byrne J

  • Date:

    02 Aug 2005

Litigation History

No Litigation History

Appeal Status

No Status