Lawyer avoids being struck off after using military free travel pass for years

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A top compensation lawyer has dodged being struck off the roll of solicitors after being caught using an Australian Defense Force free travel pass for years.

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal last week fined Thomas Cahill $5,000 for professional misconduct, according to a report from The Daily Telegraph. The NSW Law Society initially sought to have him struck off but withdrew the charge.

Cahill admitted to having used the free travel pass for six years when he was arrested after being caught using the pass on a bus in May 2014.

He had pleaded guilty at Downing Centre Local Court and was found guilty in January 2015, but Magistrate Erin Kennedy did not record a conviction. The lawyer was instead ordered to a 12-month behaviour bond and fined $171 to Sydney Trains and $894.40 to Sydney Buses.

In May of 2015, Cahill disclosed his case to the Law Society, which prompted the organisation to initiate the action with the tribunal.

According to the tribunal, Cahill said he was given the card by friend Clayton Smith and that he “genuinely held remorse and shame” that he used it. He told the tribunal that he used the pass for convenience and not monetary gain.

“The effect of these orders will have a significant deterrent effect on (Cahill) and convey a message to the profession at large that conduct of this kind is inappropriate,” the Law Society said.

The tribunal said the lawyer's use of the free travel pass “was disgraceful and dishonourable.” However, his claim of using it for convenience was found to have “some force.”

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