Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Lawyer in gun over affair with teenager

Craig Horsley. Photo / APN
Craig Horsley. Photo / APN

A Bay of Plenty lawyer allegedly acted for a vulnerable teenage client the day after he had sex with her, a tribunal has been told.

Craig Horsley, 55, appeared before the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal in Auckland yesterday to face allegations of "disgraceful and dishonourable" conduct and misleading the law standards committee.

Mr Horsley admitted lying to the committee on numerous occasions, first denying the relationship with the young woman and then lying about when their relationship began. He said he did not want his wife to suspect the baby the teenager was pregnant with was his.

Dressed in a black suit and purple tie, Mr Horsley put his head in his hands and wept after confirming the affair had ended his marriage.

He was charged by the Canterbury Westland Standards Committee with entering into an inappropriate relationship with the teen while she was his client.

After legal wrangling by his lawyer, John Billington, QC, the charge was amended to one of acting as her lawyer "while in an intimate personal relationship" with her.

The amendment meant the case was adjourned to give counsel time to make further submissions.

The tribunal was told that in June 2010, Mr Horsley met the woman at a Rotorua motel where they had sex for the first time. She was 18.

The next day, while she was driving to Tokoroa, she was involved in an accident and was charged with careless driving and driving with excess breath alcohol. She contacted Mr Horsley from the police station and he went to pick her up.

Mr Horsley told the tribunal he did this "both as a friend and as a lawyer" but said there was "no guarantee" he would end up representing her.

He had represented her earlier when she appeared before the Youth Court in 2008 and 2009, and he said he had viewed her as a "former client" and had not spoken to her for some time when she texted him to meet up for a coffee "out of the blue".

Things came to a head in August 2010 when she spotted him in the Tauranga court one morning. The tribunal was told she rushed at him with "expletive-laden abuse" and, in front of a busy court foyer, announced that she was pregnant and the baby was his.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 21 Aug 2014 02:40:54 Processing Time: 657ms