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Sir Terence O'Rort
3 July, 2007  
Winning ways

Sir Terence comes to the defence of a Rockhampton solicitor whose limited grasp of the English language and a robust style of advocacy have upset the disciplinary ponces

imageThe head honcho of the Queensland Bureau de Spank, John Britton, takes his duties far too seriously.

Britton is a non-lawyer and it shows. Just take the case of Rockhampton solicitor Douglas John Winning, who has been charged, among other things, with bringing the legal profession and the criminal justice system into disrepute.

Winning acted for the local chapter of the Rebels motorcycle club and according to the particulars of the complaint he telephoned a member of the gang before a police raid and said:

“Mate this is fuckin urgent. I’ve been runnin’ around tryna find everybody. I can’t get a phone number mate. I’ve got some good drum that the coppers are gonna raid all the rebels in Rockhampton at five o’clock in the morning…”

A little later that day the helpful solicitor contacted his client again with some practical advice:

“Yeah, so you know like get if they get rid of bongs particularly, fuckin’ cash because they’ll steal the c***... It would be lovely if they came up with fucking nothing … [unintelligible] ... get rid of fuckin’ bongs, fuckin’ cash… Anything… Everything, ya know.”

Apart from a bit of salty language, the action by the Legal Services Commission puzzles me. Here we have a solicitor trying to give some helpful advice to a less fortunate member of society who clearly has fallen victim to an addiction.

If Winning was a member of the inner-sanctum of the Queensland Law Society the probability is he would be garlanded with awards and honours.

But no, he works with his sleeves rolled-up at the legal coalface and Commissioner Britton apparently does not appreciate that everyone, including the Rebels, are entitled to fearless advice.

Britton further complains that when appearing for four Rebels before the Rockvegas Magistrates Court Winning said that the police prosecutor, acting senior constable Gormley, was: “Unethical… Totally unethical… He has told me lies on the phone.”

Again, it’s troubling that, given the history of policing in Queensland, the accused solicitor isn’t given the benefit of the doubt on this one.

A few days after the Gormley episode Winning, in a bit of light-hearted banter, told Paul Bannister, a crown prosecutor, that he was: “nothing but a c***, a fucking c***”.

Next our man encounters the storm troopers from the Australian Crime Commission and the LSC alleges that he made uncomplimentary and unprofessional remarks about the ACC’s Brisbane manager:

“Tell that fucking bitch to stick her fucking petrol money up her fucking c***”

He also referred to “fucking coppers” and “fucking filthy scumbag coppers who were corrupt”.

It is a sad day in this country when an officer of the court cannot fearlessly express an opinion about the dangers of police corruption. Hasn’t Britton heard of Sir Terry Lewis, for God’s sake?

On any fair reading of the alleged conversation there was obviously confusion about a petrol allowance for a witness. These misunderstanding do arise from time to time and we all know how stingy public servants can be.

Commissioner Britton also has a go at our fellow over a conversation with prosecutor Bannister who was described as “nothing but the village idiot” while a clerk in the local DPP office was said to be, “a fat fucking slut, a fat fucking listings clerk”. Again, the assertion is that this has the potential or tendency to bring the legal profession and judicial system into disrepute.

But, if there’s anyone who would be well acquainted with robust language it is prosecutors, who get this rich patois from the criminal classes quite frequently.

It also seems Winning is troubled by alcohol abuse because he expressed his concerns about a DPP clerk to another legal practitioner inside court five of the Supreme Court at Rockhampton, describing her as …

“nothing but a fucking drunk… she falls off fucking bar stools every five minutes.”

It’s about time that Britton left his plush office and travelled to Rockvegas and examined first hand the twin scourges of alcohol and obesity, and the ravaging toll they are taking on the legal profession.

Every Friday night inebriated barristers and solicitors fall out of Tatts onto the street, and in the process the legal profession is hideously disfigured. It’s almost got to the point where Commonwealth troops should be called in and law n’ order restored.

The LSC also claims that Winning, when acting for himself in the Rockvegas Magistrates Court after being charged by the DPP with tipping off his bikie clients, made this submission to the presiding beak:

“I take exception to this stupid woman, this Leanne Claire, putting this rubbish before a court. I’m not a paedophile and I’m not a swimming coach. But my only avenue of redress is to come before these courts… I’m a respected practitioner of the court and we all know she was involved in grubby little deals to protect paedophiles. I just seek justice. I’m not a paedophile, I’m not a swimming coach.”

This is the first I knew that it is an offence to insult the DPP, or was it the claim that he is not a swimming coach that has upset the authorities?

Ever since language monitor Marty Moynihan disposed of Rhino Baker Queenslanders have been living under the yoke of Bjelke-Beattie’s politically correct regime, which chills every citizen’s freedom to speak.

Not much has happened in the LSC’s action since it was commenced. Possibly Britton is waiting to see what happens to the DPP’s case against this pillar of Rockhampton society. The prosecutor (the same person described by the accused as a “stupid woman”) is alleging that he perverted the course of justice by giving early warning advice to the Rebels.

As I always say: “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”

Sir Terence O’Rort reporting.