A coffee at the Cosmopolitan in Double Bay, or a court appearance at his client’s sentencing? Apparently it’s no contest for roly-poly Robert Somosi. He’ll take the double cream decaff.
Somosi was struck-off by the Court of Appeal in August 2001 for his sorry career as a recalcitrant non taxpayer. But, this fact did not stay the hand of the NSW Bar & Grill in hauling the unhappy Hungarian over the coals yet again in proceedings before the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
The primary complaint came from Judge Kirkham of the NSW District Court and concerned Somosi’s failure to appear at a client’s sentencing hearing.
The tax recidivist gave evidence that he wasn’t sure whether he had been retained by his client, a Mr Chung, for sentencing on narcotics charges. This just didn’t wash with the ADT:
“Mr Somosi also gave evidence that a tense relationship had arisen between himself and Mr Chung during the course of the trial culminating in Mr Chung’s refusal to give evidence against Mr Somosi’s advice and he took that fact along with the subsequent lack of communication by Mr Hill (his instructing solicitor) to form a view that his retainer had been terminated.
The tribunal rejects the evidence and the suggestion that anything of the type alleged by Mr Somosi as having occurred during the course of the trial…”
Furthermore, the tribunal (comprised of judicial members C.B. Vass and Coombs QC and member D. Klika) said:
”... it was clear from Mr Hill that he was of the view that Mr Somosi had been retained for the sentencing hearing.”
On the day of the hearing, April 6, 1998, Hill called Somosi twice at the Cosmopolitan exhorting him to appear in court. Somosi dug in over his coffee; a failure which the tribunal said amounted to professional misconduct.
So too did Somosi’s failure to honour his undertakings to the Family Court in 1994 and 1995 to pay $9,167.14 to his former wife Patrice Shelley.
This included Ms Shelley’s legal fees, which distressingly have still not been paid.
The tribunal rejected every one Somosi’s varied explanations for failing to comply. Justinian publishes them here in the interests of public health:
“He was self destructive.
His ex-wife was being aggressive.
He was acting as if nothing happened.
He was recalcitrant.
His recalcitrance was borne out of a terrible animosity between himself and his wife.
He was of the view that he had paid ‘plenty of money’ for his wife and his children by way of cheque and cash.
He had left his wife and children and left behind various valuable assets that she could have liquidated.”
The ADT publicly reprimanded him on both counts and ordered he pay the NSW Bar Association’s costs.
Nothing like a few extra kicks to the groin when the wretch is already down for the count.