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  • Down on the Law Society Farm

    The fox was put in charge of the hen house as the Law Society’s prosecution played out this week against Auckland Human Rights Barrister Evgeny Orlov in an Auckland District Court room.

    The Tribunal panel is expected to strike Orlov off for making ‘scandalous’ complaints against then-High Court (and current Court of Appeal) Judge Rhys Harrison However, nothing was to be left to chance after legal blogger Stephen Franks recently criticised the inordinate time and expense of the 6 year prosecution.

    Embattled trust lawyer Wayne Chapman was called up from Wellington to sit on the panel, allowing him to miss a Legal Complaints Review Office hearing on a complaint against him brought against him by Mr Malcolm Rabson of Paraparumu. The hypocrisy was not lost on the full public gallery who quickly became aware of Mr Chapman’s own ethical, if not criminal, woes.

    Mr Chapman is accused of a scam perpetrated as trustee of Mr Rabson’s family trust, a trust valued by the Court of Appeal in 2011 at $2.6 Million. In 2010, after a personal relationship split, the trust’s assets were ordered to be divided between Mr Malcolm Rabson and his former partner.

    Mr Rabson took exception to Mr Chapman being appointed trustee and accused him of financial impropriety. The struggle became bitter, with Mr Chapman, paying himself enormous fees from the trust and providing an affidavit in unrelated child custody proceedings claiming Mr Rabson did not have suitable housing for his 11 year old child after Mr Chapman cancelled the sale of a home owned by the trust.

    Rabson had a court order allowing him to purchase one of the trust properties ( his family home) out of his share of trust proceeds but Chapman insisted on payment in cash, indicating he would only release funds owing to Mr Rabson after he wound up the trust.

    Despite Chapman selling the property in April of this year, he has refused to disclose the trust accounts or wind up the trust, resulting in Mr Rabson's former partner received close to $1,300,000 from Chapman. Meanwhile Mr Rabson has received no money.

    Mr Chapman is also under fire for allowing fellow Wellington barrister Roger Chapman to avoid a disciplinary hearing after charging a deceased estate for responding to a Law Society complaint that it was a criminal breach of trust to use trust funds to bankrupt a beneficiary of an estate he was acting for.

    Judge Dale Clarkson chaired the tribunal deciding Mr Orlov’s fate.
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. courtwatcher's Avatar
      courtwatcher -
      There was something in Orlov's evidence that Robert Hesketh, the former Northland District Court judge convicted of fraud, is or was head of the Law Society ethics committee. Incredible how reliable the New Zealand Law Society is at attracting the best criminal minds.
    1. Sir Richard's Avatar
      Sir Richard -
      Having seen this Wayne Chapman in public, I wonder why anyone would trust him with their car keys. He looks the spitting image of Alfred Hitchcock, but with the most crooked smile and none of the charm. The photographer taking this shot of him must have spent considerable time in Photoshop.
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