An order has been issued to strike the name of the lawyer who advised fathers of female genital mutilation victims to lie to the police, an offense which the Court of Appeal said “strikes at the heart of our system. justice ”.
Disclaimer: This lawyer has been implicated in a female genital mutilation investigation. Although details are kept to a minimum, we strongly advise caution.
Between August and October 2012, police legally intercepted calls from lawyer Hussein Karimjee who advised fathers of female genital mutilation victims to “keep their history” to the police and to lie in official statements. An order has now been issued to remove her name from the list of Australian practitioners.
“In adopting the impugned conduct, Mr. Karimjee has deliberately placed his personal desire to help community members deceive the police above his professional obligations to the court and the administration of justice,” it reads. in the judgment, adding that he was “probably permanently unfit to practice”.
Mr. Karimjee was arrested and charged in 2013 with two counts of “intent to deflect the course of justice”. He pleaded guilty to one charge in May 2017 and was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison.
After pleading guilty, Mr Karimjee informed the NSW Bar Council that he would not be renewing his certificate of practice and agreed to surrender the then valid one. He also volunteered to help with the process of removing his name from his post and only asked the Court of Appeal to change the wording of his dismissal from “permanently” unfit for practice to “indefinitely”.
Since Mr. Karimjee’s legal status was accompanied by “the obligation not to hinder or attempt to hinder the course of justice”, the court dismissed his claim.
“Having violated this obligation, he was guilty of very serious criminal conduct justifying his delisting. We are unable to accept the qualification of “indefinitely” rather than probably definitely unfit to practice. It should be noted that the offense committed by Mr. Karimjee is an offense that strikes at the heart of our judicial system ”, the judgment read.
In addition to his name already appearing on public documents, the Court of Appeal rejected a request to have his name redacted in the disciplinary proceedings on the grounds that the public interest in this case “must not be excluded at the light ”.
“Admission to the list of legal practitioners is a privilege. Removing the roll is a very serious matter. In exercising the inherent jurisdiction to discipline legal practitioners, the public interest in open justice must be kept in mind at all times. When a member of the legal profession behaves in a manner that brings the profession, the administration of justice and the legal system into disrepute, the court’s reasons should be expressed as openly as reasonably possible., ” the judgment read.
“Doing less can lead to thinking, even if it is wrong, that the system works in favor of members of the legal profession in a way that it does not with other litigants. “
The full judgment can be read on AustLII and JADE: Counsel for the Law Society of New South Wales v Karimjee  NSWCA 179 (Aug 17, 2021).