The Queensland language monitor Justice Marty Moynihan speared Mick “Rhino” Baker yesterday (Thursday, Oct 13) and ordered he be struck from the jam roll.
Alan “Lofty” MacSporran, for the Legal Services Commissioner, submitted that Baker should be struck off because “the protection of the community has to be paramount”.
Marty agreed, but then suspended the order while Rhino sought another finding from the Court of Appeal.
The protection of the public will just have to wait a bit longer, maybe a lot longer if Rhino winds his way to the High Court.
James Bell QC, for Rhino, submitted that his client was not the type of character who warranted being struck off and that the Baker Boy hoped to practise only as a consultant, not in the management of a firm, and to do so under supervision.
Maybe one of the undertakings should have been that his mouth permanently be wrapped in about 100 metres of masking tape. See Justinian’s report of September 28 on Marty’s findings about Baker’s conduct.
In striking off Baker, Moynihan who was sitting as the Legal Practice Tribunal – the new Queensland Bureau de Spank, said it was impossible to ignore the cumulative effect of the findings and that Baker had treated his clients shamefully.
He described the customers as being poor and unsophisticated in legal matters.
Marty thought that Baker had tried to “justify the unjustifiable” and that he was unfit to practise and should be removed from the roll of solicitors.
However, a wounded Rhino is a dangerous creature and after Bell told the tribunal that Baker would appeal, Moynihan stayed the operation of the order until the court of appeal makes up its mind about whether it’s reasonable to swear at clients and overcharge them.
This will allow Baker to continue working as a consultant to Brisbane win-win law shop Baker Johnson, under supervision. Quite who’s responsible for his “supervision” and what form it will take we might discover later.
The genteel citizens of Brisvegas will have to wait until next year before any decision is forthcoming on whether this ancient species of solicitor finally becomes extinct.
Sir Terence O’ Rort reporting from Brisbane