Leading criminal lawyer avoids being struck off after affair with teenager

Tauranga criminal lawyer Craig Ronald Horsley has been given a three-year suspension by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal, after being found guilty of misconduct.

The lawyer had an affair with a teenager he represented in Youth Court, a local media report said. 

NZ Law Society national prosecution manager Mark Treleaven says three years is the maximum period of suspension from practice that can be imposed on a lawyer. (see the judgment attached)

“The tribunal found that the acceptance of responsibility by Mr Horsley and mitigating factors were just sufficient to pull the penalty back from strike-off to the maximum period of suspension,” he says.

Mr Horsley was found guilty of misconduct for providing services to a client while in an intimate personal relationship with her.

The tribunal found he willfully or recklessly contravened the rule requiring him to be independent and free from compromising influences when providing services to his client.

The lawyer also admitted he made a false statement to the investigating New Zealand Law Society standards committee.

He had signed a statement saying he had not had a personal relationship with the client when he knew that to be false.