An Auckland lawyer has been struck off after he provided misleading information to Immigration New Zealand that helped enable human trafficking.
Mohammed Idris Hanif, the Law Society said today, was struck off the roll of barrister and solicitors by New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.
Hanif was found guilty last year of knowingly providing false and misleading information to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and was sentenced to 10 months' home detention.
In 2014, Hanif provided legal services to Faroz Ali, who was found guilty of human trafficking in 2016. It was the first conviction for the crime in New Zealand's history.
On five occasions, visa applications were submitted by Hanif that included false and misleading information, stating that three Fijian workers were tourists who wished to stay longer in New Zealand to sightsee and visit family and friends.
The fraudulent information enabled the workers Ali had trafficked into New Zealand to remain in the country and be used as a labour source in his gib fixing business.
"Lawyers are required to maintain a relationship of confidence and trust with their clients, but in no way does that extend to acting illegally or assisting their client to commit criminal acts," New Zealand Law Society President Tiana Epati said today.
"All lawyers are officers of the court and the Rules of Conduct and Client Care state that a lawyer must not advise a client to engage in conduct that the lawyer knows to be fraudulent or criminal, nor assist any person in an activity that the lawyer knows is fraudulent or criminal."