Lawyer facing possible disbarment over misconduct claims

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A Melbourne lawyer who admitted to pressuring a child sex abuse victim to not help police is before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal this week, accused of professional misconduct.

Alex Lewenberg, who represented notorious Jewish paedophile David Cyprys, faces possible disbarment over claims he said Jews shouldn’t help police prosecute fellow Jews.

The Victorian Legal Services Commissioner has accused Lewenberg of misconduct relating to two incidents, both where he was unhappy that a victim was helping police.

“I am not exactly delighted that another Yid would assist police against an accused, no matter whatever he is accused of,” Lewenberg said in secretly recorded phone conversations.

“There is a tradition, if not a religious requirement, that you do not assist against (the people of Abraham).”

Lewenberg admitted to making the comments but told the Legal Services Commissioner that what he said must be understood in context.

Lewenberg, who has represented some of Melbourne’s most notorious underworld figures, has survived being bashed, shot and stabbed with a sword from a suit of armour during a home invasion back in 2009.

He was once attached in his office by a woman with a baseball bat, posing as the wife of a gandland figure, The Age reported.
Lewenberg’s lawyer, Jeremy Rushkin QC, told the tribunal that while the comments were inappropriate, they should be taken into context.

“These are not the words that were written on a webpage to announce what your philosophy is,” he told the tribunal.
Nicholas Green QC, who is appearing on behalf of the Legal Services Commissioner, said the comments were not spontaneous and were intended to threaten.

“He went hard on the man.  And he went on a Jew telling on another Jew,” he said.

“Put colloquially, it was a shirtfont.”

Lewenberg has previously been banned from practising for a period of two years back in 1989 when he was found guilty of three charges of professional misconduct.

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