More trouble in Brisvegas as Justice Roz Atkinson, sitting as the Bureau de Spanque, brought the curtain down on the illustrious legal career of one of our finest, Robin Carl Tampoe.
Robin had been one of many less-than-useful lawyers for Schapelle Corby.
The whole problem arose in June 2005 because Tampoe gave an interview to Nine’s Sunday program in which he discussed the criminal convictions of other members of the Corby clan.
The information had been given to him in confidence by Mercedes Corby.
The fact that some members of the Corby family between them might have had more convictions for hooch than Cheech and Chong was confidential information.
Justice Roz found that Tampoe had breached his professional obligation by disclosing the content of this conversation.
The fact that the convictions themselves would have been in the public domain was not discussed by the Bureau.
The judge said that, “By accepting the charge as particularised, he has accepted that the information was given to him confidentially and he had breached his duty of confidentiality by revealing it”.
“It is hard to think of a more egregious breach than to do so on a national television program.”
Tampoe came up with the argument that he thought his client was “Crazy” Ron Bashir, of mobile telephone fame, and it was therefore quite acceptable to spill the beans about the Corbys because they weren’t his clients.
The only problem, as Roz pointed out, was that Tampoe’s client agreement had Schapelle Corby’s name plastered all over it.
By the time the matter came before the Bureau de Spanque Tampoe tumbled to the fact that fact Schapelle had been his client.
Tamps also claimed that Mercedes Corby had lied to him.
That was a dangerous thing to do, as Schapelle’s sister cleaned-up big time in the defo court against Channel Seven, which broadcast among other things, that she lied to the public about her and her family’s involvement with drugs.
Funnily enough, Perth barrister Mark Trowell also claimed in disciplinary proceedings against him that he had never acted for Schapelle.
He was reprimanded by the WA State Administrative Tribunal in April for breaching client confidentiality by telling the media that the Corby legal team had planned to bribe Indonesian authorities.
The next big problem for Tamps (snap) was his participation in a documentary entitled Schapelle Corby: The Hidden Truth, which was broadcast by Channel Nine on June 22 and 24 last year.
Atkinson J took exception to Tampoe’s description of the Corbys in the following terms:
“These are the biggest, the biggest pile of trash I have ever come across in my entire life. I’ve never … I’ve never seen a more ungrateful, um, nasty piece of work as this woman and this family.”
The man’s a poet.
But Tamps saved his special venom for Mum Corby, Rosaleigh Rose, saying:
“I’m watching Roz, Roz, Rose Leigh, whatever her fucking name is, Corby. On, on TV last night ‘cause now she thinks she is a fuckin’ rock star. Superstar. Talkin’ to Ray. Puttin’ shit on ahh everybody. On everybody.”
Then there was the baggage handling defence, which he implied he had made up.
“Baggage handling defence? It’s got nothin’ to do with the case. Three weeks to put a defence together, I put a defence together. Baggage handlers didn’t put drugs in the bag. Nothin’ to do with it. But now, now she believes it. They all fuckin’ believe it. It’s not true.”
Atkinson gave Tampoe no credit at all for the heartfelt apology he made to the baggage boys:
“I don’t give a shit. You want to fuckin’ attack me? I gave you the defence. I’ll take it away. As fast as I gave it, I’ll take it away … Yeah, sorry about that guys.”
The judge thought that the baggage handler comments were scandalous and were likely to cause the public to lose confidence, not only in the legal profession, but in the criminal justice system.
“It suggests that in response to a criminal charge what one should do is find a legal practitioner who will make up a defence for the alleged offender. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
(Ah-umm. Just possibly it’s a tiny bit closer to the truth than HH would have us believe.)
The Bureau thought that the manner in which Tampoe had spoken of the Corby clan in the documentary was “scandalous and offensive”.
Both charges were proven. Tamps is unfit to be a lawyer and he was scrubbed from the jam roll.
And so we lose another in the stella line up of fearless Brisvegas advocates: Rhino Baker … Craig Bax … Robin Tampoe.
Sir Terence O’Rort reporting