A lawyer known for his repeated legal complaints against Wollongong City Council, including allegations of development corruption, has been struck off as a solicitor after being found guilty of professional misconduct.
In a judgement handed down in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Monday, LBC Lawyers solicitor Amir Paul Harb was ordered to be taken off the roll of lawyers for unethical conduct, after he failed to disclose that he had received confidential information during a case.
The NSW Legal Services Commissioner took Harb to court arguing that he engaged in unethical conduct during a case before the Sydney District Court from 2011.
The commissioner told a three-judge panel at the tribunal that Harb had sued solicitor Luke Aiken and barrister David Weinberger for professional negligence, after they represented him in a 2009 case.
During the case against the lawyers, a clerk at Mr Weinberger’s office leaked 14 emails containing confidential information to Harb, at Harb’s request.
“The evidence discloses that [Harb] requested the information from [clerk Margaret Homsy] and he knew that Ms Homsy did not have the authority to release such information,” the tribunal panel said in its judgement.
Ms Homsy was the daughter of a woman employed at Harb’s firm.
The court was told Harb believed his lawyers “were engaged in a conspiracy to defy being held liable”, and that he thought Ms Homsy was a whistleblower.
“[She was] voluntarily assisting me in exposing the conspiracy and cover up,” Harb argued in a letter to the commissioner.
But the tribunal found “there was no basis for concluding that Mr Aiken or Mr Weinberger were involved in any corruption”.
“The respondent’s true motive could not in those circumstances have been based upon a desire to expose corruption,” the panel said in its judgement.
“We are of the view that there is no evidence that [Harb] understands the gravity of his conduct or demonstrates contrition.”
They ordered Harb be found guilty of professional misconduct on two grounds and that he be struck off the roll of lawyers and pay costs.
Harb has clashed with Wollongong council and politicians a number of times, mostly during his efforts to develop his property at 385A Crown Street, Wollongong.
Most recently, he lodged a case the Supreme Court in 2015, in an attempt to revisit aspects of the city’s infamous ‘‘Table of Knowledge’’ scandal. And in 2011, the words “Labor is corrupt” were painted on the front of his building during the state election. His plans to build a multi-story hotel complex are currently being considered by the council.