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Thursday, 29 March 1979
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Mr ARMITAGE (Chifley) -The telex reads as follows:

The Chief Justice of NSW, Sir Laurence Street today called an MP action in personally intervening in a case a grave impropriety '.

Sir Laurencesaid the MP, Mr Reg Gillard, Federal Member for Macquarie had written to him personally, presumably to 'influence the outcome' of a case concerning a Bathurst solicitor who was struck off the roll.

Vincent Francis Gordon was struck off by the Solicitors' Statutory Committee because of trust fund offences and had appealed to the court of appeal against this decision.

His appeal had been dismissed.

In his letter to Sir Laurence, Mr Gillard said, 'It would be sincerely appreciated if some leniency could be extended to Mr Gordon in this matter'.

Sir Laurencesaid today that he had no doubt Mr Gillard was well-intentioned in writing this letter and he accepted Mr Gordon had no part in it.

The regrettable fact however is that a personal communication was made to me presumably with the intention of influencing the outcome of the case. It ought to be a wellknown and jealously observed precept that no person should ever attempt to influence because of justice -

I think it should be 'the course of justice'.

.   . by making a private approach to a judge.

Justice is administered in open court and in reliance upon evidence and arguments publicly presented, the Chief Justice said.

It goes further:

Sir Laurencesaid of course the letter would not affect his judgment but he was embarrassed at receiving it.

Sir Laurencemade copies of the letter available to the Press and it says that Mr Vince Gordon had been known to Mr Gillard for 20 years and that Mr Gillard had admired his (Gordon) community work.

The letter continues:

I am aware of the action which has been taken against Mr Gordon and knowing him as I do I feel that the penalty imposed is extremely harsh. I believe it would be far better if he were allowed to continue working in -

It says* He- his profession.

That is what the letter said.

Mr Kevin Cairns - Are you alleging malevolence?

Mr ARMITAGE - I am reading the telex. It states:

Gordon and his partner John Wilson, who practised in Bathurst, Orange and Blayney were struck off the roll on March 1 by the Solicitors Statutory Committee for trust fund offences.

There are other telexes which are circulating around the Press Gallery now on this matter. I raise the question in terms, as I said, of Erskine May's Parliamentary Practice, 19th edition, page 144, third paragraph, under the heading Other Forms of Misconduct'. I ask that the matter be referred to the Privileges Committee to determine whether there has been a breach of privilege.

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