- Top compensation lawyer caught by police using an Australian Defence Force free travel pass
- By Janet Fife-yeomans And Nick Hansen
- Contributed by: Robbo ( 1 article in 2017 )
TOP compensation lawyer Thomas Cahill has a $3 million Mosman home and earns a fortune — but was too cheap to pay for his own train and bus fares, a court has heard.
The 43-year-old was caught by police using an Australian Defence Force free travel pass and admitted having used it for six years. He was arrested after being caught on a bus in May 2014, when he was using a pass in the name of Clayton Smith, an ex-defence force member.
His years of free travel on Sydney trains and buses were revealed last week when he was fined $5000 for professional misconduct by the Civil and Administrative Tribunal, though the NSW Law Society had first wanted him struck off the roll of solicitors.
Cahill (pictured), whose LinkedIn page says he has worked for the past six months as special counsel at class action specialists Bannister Law, told the tribunal he used the free travel card for convenience, not “financial gain”.
“(His) conduct in using the card was disgraceful and dishonourable,” the three-member tribunal wrote. They said, however, his explanation that it was more for convenience had “some force”.
The tribunal was told Cahill was charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception between October 1, 2013, and May 22, 2014, at Sydney and pleaded guilty at Downing Centre Local Court.
In January 2015, Magistrate Erin Kennedy found him guilty but did not record a conviction. He was placed on a 12-month behaviour bond and ordered to pay compensation of $171 to Sydney Trains $895.40 to Sydney Buses.
In May 2015, Cahill told the Law Society about his court appearance and it initiated action in the tribunal which culminated last Tuesday. The tribunal said Cahill was given the card by Mr Smith, a friend, and “genuinely held remorse and shame” for having used it.
In an agreed statement of facts, Cahill voluntarily disclosed he had used the pass from “some time in 2008”.
The Law Society sought to have Cahill struck off but withdrew that and instead requested the fine, the tribunal said. “The effect of these orders will have a significant deterrent effect on (Cahill) and convey a message to the profession at large that conduct of this kind is inappropriate,” the tribunal said.
Cahill could not be contacted for comment yesterday. His partner, lawyer Clare Darby, said at their home: “He definitely wouldn’t have anything to say.”