Brisbane lawyer faces conflict of interest probe

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The Queensland Bar Association is investigating conflict of interest allegations against former solicitor-general Walter Sofronoff over his role before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Sofronoff was hired by a former Brisbane Grammar School student in a bid to sue the school for the abuse he suffered from paedophile counsellor Kevin Lynch, the royal commission later hearing how Lynch sexually assaulted dozens of children at the school before committing suicide.

But last November, Sofronoff represented Brisbane Grammar at the royal commission hearing in Brisbane, examining Lynch’s activities.

The Queensland Legal Services Commission has ordered the Bar Association to investigate whether Sofronoff had a conflict in representing Brisbane Grammar before the commission.

At the hearing, a member of the gallery voiced concern over the conflict, according to reports by the ABC.

“Mr Sofronoff, weren't you the lawyer that my brother and I went to for litigation advice 15 years ago, when we first wanted to take on Grammar?,” the brother of an abused student said.

The family of the student said they welcomed an investigation.

“A person that I paid $5,000 to for an opinion almost 10 years ago is buyable by the school,” he later told the Brisbane hearing.

“He said earlier that technically there was no issue - again, they've missed the point.  This is not about technical and legalities, it's about the fact that children were abused, and that's an indication, Mr Sofronoff, of the fact that he thinks that this is all a legal process.

“I've got my shoes to be shined, and I'm happy to pay you Sofronoff to come over and do that, will you accept the money?

“You should be appalled.  If you're that desperate for money, I can lend you some.”

Brisbane Grammar told the ABC it would await the outcome of any process and would not ask Sorfronoff to stand down in the interim.  The ABC reported that Sofronoff declined to comment.
 

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