- Honest lawyer targeted
- By Russell Robinson
- Herald Sun
- Contributed by: admin ( 100 articles in 2004 )
David Perkins: Torn apart by a corrupt legal system
A MALE barrister, once arrested while wearing only an unbuttoned dress and smeared lipstick, accused a tribunal member of being bigoted, unprofessional and cowardly.
David Anthony Perkins also described the arbitrator as dishonest, craven in his conduct and behaving in a disgraceful way.
"In my submission, you should disqualify yourself," Mr Perkins said to Robert Davis, a senior member of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
"You are not fit to decide a matter in which I am involved as counsel because you are a bigot and a coward as far as I am personally concerned."
Mr Perkins wanted Mr Davis to disqualify himself from the October 2000 hearing, alleging Mr Davis had shown bias against him in a prior case.
Mr Davis refused the application.
He said Mr Perkins' application was "based on a personal attack upon myself on the basis that I'm a bigot, I'm a coward, and he didn't believe I could bring any justice to a matter where he is appearing for someone".
Mr Davis said he would answer no allegations.
"By not answering them it doesn't mean that I agree with him and, quite frankly, quite to the contrary, I disagree with him entirely."
The next December, Mr Perkins was found guilty of contempt by VCAT and fined $2500. VCAT also found that his complaints of bias were baseless.
Mr Perkins is now before the Legal Profession Tribunal facing charges brought by the Victorian Bar, including disgraceful and dishonourable misconduct, engaging in conduct which was dishonourable or otherwise discreditable to a barrister.
He has been further charged with having engaged in conduct which was prejudicial to the administration of justice, and likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession or in the administration of justice.
He has pleaded not guilty. A decision is expected next month.
Legal observers say if found guilty, Mr Perkins faces being struck off or suspended. A father of three, Mr Perkins was found guilty in the Prahran Magistrates' Court in December 1996 of one charge of offensive behaviour and two of resisting police.
The court heard that he had been arrested in Kent St, Hawthorn, at 2.10am wearing an unbuttoned dress, which exposed his genitals, and make-up. His lipstick was smeared.
Then 49, Mr Perkins said he'd been chasing his estranged wife, who had climbed through a window after he would not open the door. He'd told police the dress was the first available piece of clothing.
Mr Perkins, who pleaded not guilty, was put on a good behaviour bond and fined $500. A County Court judge upheld his appeal against the offensive behaviour conviction.
Have Your Say:
I have come to know, admire and respect David Perkins both as a person and as a barrister since I first saw him in the Family Court in about mid 2000. I was truly amazed at how he represented his client in a courteous and respectful manner. His ability to actively listen, empathise and acknowledge his client was inspiring and a style I had not observed with lawyers previously.
I regard his integrity and honesty as being of the highest order. I trust David's skills and expertise explicitly as a legal practitioner and have recommended him to many people.
David has assisted me on many difficult occasions, without payment, where I have felt helpless, and abandoned by the legal system in trying to protect my children and family from a fate worse than death; defending your rights in a grossly biased legal system without proper legal representation. I believe without David's support in and out of the courtroom, I may have committed suicide.
Knowing David has given me strength, a greater understanding of myself and a new founded respect for the principles of law, in so far as preserving the rights of common citizens. David has further given me faith that justice can prevail and the innocent and vulnerable can be protected in a legal system that is otherwise flawed in so many areas, fundamentally denying many people their rights and access to justice.
David's preparedness to improve and maintain a fair legal system for the betterment of the community and under privileged is commendable. His faith in the system and due process is admirable, notwithstanding I believe, it unfairly treating him.
I have witnessed David make sacrifice upon sacrifice to bridge the gaps between the failures in the legal system and providing "Access to Justice", and fairness for his clients, often by sticking his neck out and going that extra mile.
David Perkins is an extremely humble and intelligent human being, who is often, referred to as a "hero" for his courage, persistence and tenacity, fighting for many an underdog. He deserves a medal, not demerit.
In my opinion David Perkins is the "litmus test" of fairness and justice being done, in an extremely adversarial, discriminatory and antiquated system.
Depriving the community by removing David from practising law, an area he is not only highly competent in, but is his love for helping the deprived and needy, is like extinguishing the flame of hope and faith ordinary citizens of Australia have in our legal system.
David Perkins is an asset that must be recognized, not victimised. The world will be worse off if such a talented individual not remain advocating the truth.
If David is discriminated against, I for one will have lost what little faith I have in the legal profession at understanding humanity, let alone judging it.
There is no doubt in my mind and the minds of many other public citizens, that David Perkins fall from grace has been engineered to prevent him continuing to unravel and expose injustice, corruption and pedophile activity at senior levels of the judiciary.