Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Perth lawyer gets suspended sentence

A 33-year-old Perth lawyer has received a one-year suspended sentence for counselling a witness not to testify in a trial involving her partner.

Josephine Pepe pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice in a phone call with prison inmate Gary Edward Fitzgerald, who rang her in August 2006.

Mr Fitzgerald had been considering testifying against Pepe's de facto partner Julian Murray, who was accused of conspiring to assault a pregnant woman.

On the day of their conversation, he decided not to give evidence.

"This honestly won't do anything for you except to f**k me up," the court heard Ms Pepe had said to Fitzgerald.

"You just say: 'Look, I think I got the details wrong. I don't want to give evidence any more'.

"If they threaten you, tell them it's crap, you don't have to do this."

Ms Pepe's lawyer had said that while his client had fallen well short of being professional, that did not make her actions criminal.

While she was also in a position of conflict, her conduct did not fall within the parameter of the charge against her, lawyer Stephen Shireff had said.

During the trial, Justice Alan Fenbury asked whether it was common knowledge among lawyers that all outgoing calls from prison were recorded.

No comments: