A lawyer has been ordered to pay more than $250,000 for a raft of misconduct charges including that he baselessly accused a judge of being a racist and another of judicial corruption.
But Francisc Catalin Deliu, who goes by the name Frank Deliu, avoided being struck off as a lawyer and was instead suspended for 15 months.
The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal imposed the penalties for six charges of professional misconduct, two of unprofessional conduct and one of conduct unbecoming of a practitioner.
The tribunal found Deliu made a series of baseless allegations about Justice Rhys Harrison.
"He accused the judge variously of breaching his judicial oath, being out of control, repeatedly abusing his powers, being partial, discriminatory, acting with mala fides, maliciously, spitefully and of being racist," the tribunal's decision said.
"We found that the practitioner's complaints against Justice Harrison were not proper complaints at all. They were merely an effort by the practitioner to protect himself."
When that conduct was exposed by another judge, Justice Anthony Randerson, Deliu's response was to attack Justice Randerson as well.
"[He did so] in a disgraceful way, again to protect himself from the consequences of his own misconduct," the tribunal's decision said.
The tribunal said Deliu accused Justice Randerson of "attempting to obstruct the course of justice, using his judicial office in gross abuse of taxpayer money for an improper motive, breaching his judicial oath and of judicial corruption".
In addition to these allegations, the tribunal found that Deliu engaged in "a clear pattern of incompetent actions over a confined period".
The charge of "conduct unbecoming of a practitioner" came about after he and a client attended a Complaints Committee meeting, uninvited.
"He and his client interrupted, shouted at and made demands of the committee to such an extent that they caused the meeting to be adjourned," the tribunal's decision said.
Some of those at the meeting told the tribunal that they had felt very uncomfortable and one felt threatened.
The tribunal was also made aware of a previous disciplinary case brought by the New Zealand Law Society.
The tribunal finding said during correspondence with people associated with the society, Deliu had labelled recipients "crooked, biased, discriminating, bent, debauched, iniquitous, perfidious, rotten, shady, treacherous, unscrupulous, unethical, cowards, untrustworthy, malicious thugs, simpletons, buffoons, inbred, incompetent, cretinous and venal".
For this he was was fined $7500 and ordered to pay costs of $2000. Deliu has applied for a review of the decision.
The tribunal agreed with the prosecutor that Deliu had demonstrated no insight into his offending.
"In particular, it is appalling that the unfounded allegations against the judges were maintained until the penalty hearing - some eight years."
The tribunal said the case had been protracted and drawn out, taking no less than 17 hearing days.
"The volume of material that has been presented for consideration fills seven large filing boxes. Much of that material was filed by the practitioner."
Deliu accused one of the prosecutors in the case of blackmail, claiming he sought to coerce Deliu to withdraw a civil claim against the Law Society. The tribunal found this accusation to be "extraordinary and not accepted".
In deciding to suspend rather than strike off Deliu, the tribunal gave him some some credit for the fact the matters were historical. It also acknowledged his previous good character, his dedication to working with immigrant communities, and his successful practice.
"We consider he deserves a second chance, particularly in the circumstances when the matters which have brought him before this tribunal are largely historical."
He was ordered to pay costs of $153,500 to the Lawyers Standards Committee and $108,500 to the Law Society.
Speaking to the Herald, Deliu said he had appealed the tribunal's decision to the High Court and it would be heard in March.
"The absolute main thing I'm being penalised for is I complained about two judges," he said.
"New Zealand is a fascist democracy that persecutes lawyers for speaking out against the state and we are no better ... than China."
He called the tribunal's decision "bizarre" and said it was very political.
"The thing has been going on for 10 years, why on earth would they spend millions of dollars ... when I complained about two judges in private? Not a single client was affected much less harmed."
He said a complaint against the New Zealand Government had been lodged at the United Nations on his behalf.
"My freedom of speech is being denied me, my freedom as a lawyer is being denied me and my freedom as a human rights defender is being denied me."