Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a NZME. News Service journalist based in Auckland.

Delays cost disgraced lawyer's case

Sacha Beacham. Picture / APN
Sacha Beacham. Picture / APN

A divorcee who sought legal help from disgraced barrister Sacha Beacham has been barred from raising a personal grievance because the lawyer did not file proceedings in time.

Details of the failed employment case have been released as Beacham awaits a decision on whether she will be struck off as a lawyer for bringing the profession into disrepute following convictions for drink-driving, resisting arrest and obstructing police.

Hastings man Waake Davies asked Beacham to represent him last September after separating from his wife and losing his job as a domestic-violence worker at social services provider Dove Hawkes Bay.

He told the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) it was a stressful time and he wanted Beacham to make sense of it all.

Davies asked her to make the family matters a priority, but also sought advice on whether there were grounds for redress from his former employer.

Beacham wrote to Dove in October to advise she was representing Davies and to request documentation over his dismissal.

More than two months later, Davies sent her a text message to ask her if "the Dove case was due shortly".

They met later that day and Beacham emailed Dove a personal grievance claim, which she had drafted earlier.

However the email was sent outside the 90-day time limit in which a personal grievance must be raised.

ERA member Paul Stapp declined to allow the claim to be heard out of time, saying it did not meet exceptional circumstances.

But he deflected blame from Beacham, noting Davies had not clearly asked her to raise the grievance until their meeting in December.

- APNZ

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