Legal Aid lawyer convicted of sexual assault

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The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard yesterday that former Victorian Legal Aid solicitor Mark Edmondson sexually assaulted a woman who is an alleged victim of family violence and met with him to discuss the case against her partner.

He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault and was fined $3,000.

The 21 year old said in a victim impact statement that she had felt “gross and sick in my belly” following the assault, which in Edmondson’s car in July last year.  She said that given his role as a lawyer older than her father, she never thought he would do something like that.

Edmondson initially denied the claim to police but pleaded guilty last Friday.  He resigned from Victoria Legal Aid when the allegation was made.

Magistrate Peter Reardon said Edmondson had exploited a vulnerable woman and had displayed a “loss of control”.  The court heard that the woman was under pressure from her partner to change her statement.

His defence lawyer told the court that Edmondson was experiencing health problems at the time and had undergone counselling.  He had written an apology to the victim and had paid a large price professionally, emotionally and socially.

Reardon decided not to put Edmondson on the register of sex offenders as he considered him unlikely to reoffend.  His offending is before the Victorian Legal Services Board.

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