Second conviction for Queenstown lawyer

A Queenstown lawyer has received his second conviction for driving offences in the space of two and a-half months.

Adam Copland, a partner at law firm Mitchell Mackersy Lawyers, was caught driving while disqualified near Queenstown Airport on August 22.

He was less than two months into a six-month driving ban after being caught drink-driving in Auckland earlier this year.

Copland admitted the charge before Judge John Strettel in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.

Judge Strettel told him: ''You of all people should've known better, particularly given your profession.''

He ordered him to pay a $550 fine, court costs of $130, and imposed another six months' disqualification beginning on January 1.

Copland (35), who lives in Jacks Point, is a member of his firm's commercial property syndication leadership team.

He told the Otago Daily Times the firm had not taken disciplinary action against him and his colleagues were ''really supportive''.

''They know I've made an error, and they want to help me work through why I'm making the errors of judgement I am.

''Obviously it's not great reputationally, and as a solicitor I know more than anybody else I shouldn't be making decisions like this.''

He would be informing the Law Society about his latest conviction immediately.

Defence counsel Bill Dawkins said in court his client's conduct was inappropriate and unlawful.

''It was an error of judgement, and it follows an earlier error of judgement this year.''

The defendant's colleagues had recommended he ''take a month to reflect on what he has done''.

In the Auckland District Court on July 2 Copland admitted driving with a breath-alcohol level of 676mcg, and was banned from driving for six months.

Law Society Otago branch president John Farrow said once the society had been notified, its standards committee would investigate whether unsatisfactory conduct had occurred.

Any form of censure or disciplinary action would be ''facts-specific''.

''It's about fitness to practise, so one aspect would be that if they're making poor judgement calls in committing offences, then that's a concern.''

Inquiries would also be made about the practitioner's wellbeing, Mr Farrow said.

''If there's an underlying health or mental health issue, that's of concern as well, not only for the practitioner but also their clients and the public.''

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