“As the mayor of Oudtshoorn I cannot allow this to continue”
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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 26 June 2013. 04h50. Mayor Gordon April on Monday reported Nic Barrow to the Cape Law Society for misconduct and breech of the Society’s rules.
Here is the text of the covering letter:
The Oudtshoorn municipality, the Mayor, the Speaker, the municipal council, individual councillors and officials were subjected to crude and vicious verbal as well as written abuse for the past years by the abovementioned attorney.
As the mayor of Oudtshoorn I cannot allow this to continue.
The abovementioned abuse, victimization and intimidation are best illustrated by the “open letter” dated 1 April 2009 written by Mr. Barrow and distributed to the media, some of them who published it. The contents of the letter are self-explanatory. I attach a copy thereof hereto for your attention.
I also attach hereto a judgement delivered by Judge Erasmus in a matter where Mr. Barrow acted on behalf of the Applicant. The Judge made the following remarks about Mr. Barrow’ conduct:
“The applicant herein, represented by Attorney Nick Barrow, brought an urgent application, on one day, notice for the following relief:
The relevance of me quoting this will become apparent later, especially when I deal with the costs issue. The affidavits of Pierre Nel, Nicholas John Barrow and Johan Georg Theron were in support of the entire application.
“Mr Nick Barrow is a resident of Oudtshoorn and also an attorney of this court. He was not the attorney of record at the launching of the proceedings and although he is nowhere mentioned in the founding papers, filed a confirmatory affidavit. It seems, however, that Mr Barrow played no small part in the drama that enfolded surrounding the applicant, first and second respondent. I shall revert to this issue when I deal with costs.
“It is clear from the record that Nick Barrow was the driving force behind the campaign to discredit the second respondent and to rid the first respondent of his services. Reading through the record, one cannot believe that this is the conduct of an attorney of this court. The persistent actions of Nick Barrow led to the council of first respondent resolving to support second respondent at some stage during the history of this case.
“There is, however, a further disturbing aspect in this matter and this concerns the conduct of the applicant’s attorney of record, Mr Nick Barrow. Mr Barrow entered the fray as the attorney as the attorney of record only on 4 February 2011. As I have pointed out, long before he became the attorney and before he was mentioned on any of the papers, he signed a so called confirmatory affidavit. I could not see the relevance thereof at that stage, but until all the other papers were filed, it became very clear, as I have indicated, that he was the driving force behind this issue that resulted in this application.
“It is unfortunate that he came on record as an attorney, given that the answering affidavits of the second respondent contains a number of serious allegations regarding his conduct which, if correct, made it improper for him to act as an attorney of record in this matter. There are numerous indications in the record which support this contention and I wish to state at this stage at the time when I asked counsel for further input, I had exactly the same issues as quoted by the first respondent’s counsel in mind and I had flagged in my record and I think it is appropriate that one quotes it here. Firstly, in a handwritten note directed at the second respondent, Mr Barrow is alleged to have stated:
“’Jou dom donner, die planne moes en is deur die vorige eienaar ingedien. Gaan kyk in julle deurmekaar kantore.’
“In the letter dated 21 September 2007 to the editor of the Oudtshoorn Courant (they use the Dutch word), Mr Barrow is alleged to have stated the following with regard to the second respondent:
“‘Jou kontrak is nie hernu bloot omdat jy totaal onbevoegd is. ŉ Voëltjie het toe vir my gesê jy is maande agterstallig met paaiemente op jou rekening by die bank en dat hulle die voertuig soek om terug te neem.’
“’Twee mense het ook aan my gesê dat jy lief is vir dobbel en casinos toe gaan. Ek sê toe nee dit kan nie waar wees nie, die man dra dan ŉ toga. Jy sal dit seker maar ontken.’
“Then a week later, again to the editor of the newspaper, he wrote:
“’Maar vader Petersen, wat het jy dan daar gedoen as jy so ŉ gemors daar aangevang het, wat gaan jy hier doen?’
“And he persisted with this in the media and in direct correspondence with the second respondent. Then later on 16 April he wrote to the audit committee:
“’Die mense is keelvol vir sy bullshit.’
“He did not stop there, he goes to the newspapers again and eventually in October 2008 he draws up what he calls a scoreboard of all the points that he scored. Then, of course, we know, as I have summarised earlier on of what happened in the council as a result of payment of legal fees relating to some of these allegations and then Mr Barrow comes on record as the attorney, whereas the serious allegations in the papers are not being dealt with.
“It is clear from the founding papers, and more particularly the supporting affidavit of Mr Barrow, that he and the applicant were under one roof with the launching of this application. I am, however, not going to make an order against the attorney himself, but I think it is appropriate in a case like this, that the court shows its displeasure in the way this litigation was conducted and, therefore, the following order is made:
“1. The application is dismissed with costs, which costs shall be on the attorney and client scale and shall include the cost of two counsel and the costs of the appearances on 19 August 2010 and 1 September 2010.
“That is the order of the court.”
In a recent flurry of emails Mr. Barrow attacks the Speaker as well as our legal representative under his alter ego “Oudtshoorn Waghond”. The emails were sent by him, from his legal practice’s official email address. He however refers to himself as “his””prokkie”, in the third person so to speak, purports to act on behalf of Oudtshoorn Waghond, his alter ego.
I find the contents of these emails (copies of which is attached hereto), highly insulting, provocative and unprofessional. It is a clear attempt to intimidate and influence the outcome and flow of current litigation. I belief this constitutes contempt of court. Please see the article attached hereto which is pertinent to this point.
I another instance Mr. Barrow also showed contempt of court with the following comment he published regarding a judgment which he didn’t agree with:
KOMMENTAAR OP PIETERSEN SE UITSPRAAK
FEBRUARY 5, 2013
Ek het met skok en ongeloof verneem van Regter NP Boqwana se handhawing van Pietersen se Appèl teen sy skuldigbevinding in die Streekhof. Alhoewel ek nog nie die volle Uitspraak bestudeer het nie, kan ek nou al onomwonde sê dat ek nie met die Regter se Uitspraak saamstem nie.
Pietersen het my en sekere koerante vir R 1 miljoen skadevergoeding gedagvaar vir beweerde laster. Hy het later sy eis teruggetrek. Hy het R 17 000 van belastingbetalers se geld geneem om sy prokureurskoste te betaal.
Die vraag is eenvoudig. Hoe kan die belastingbetalers se geld aangewend word vir privaatskuld van die Munisipale Bestuurder? Privaatskuld is en bly steeds privaat. Dit kon net so wel meubelskuld gewees het. Geen Burgemeester, Raad of amptenare kan so ‘n oortreding wettig nie. Indien hulle sulke toestemming gee, is dit ongeldig en ook selfs onwettig. Dit bly onwettig en ‘n misdaad. Pietersen was die Munisipale Bestuurder en daarom die sogenaamde Chief Accounting Officer. Die lorrie stop by hom.
Ek hoop die DOV bestudeer die Uitspraak en loots ‘n Appèl. As hierdie Uitspraak die toestand van ons Howe weerspieël, het dit te laat geword.
‘n Meer volledige verklaring sal later uitgereik word.
namens Oudtshoorn Waghond
This contemptuous behaviour should no longer be tolerated since it maculates the honourable legal profession.
To this end I attach a recent Australian article “Civility and Professionalism – standards of courtesy” and trust that the South African legal profession may be held to the same standard.
I implore you to demand from Mr. Barrow an unconditional apology; a retraction; and a written undertaking to desist from similar or related correspondence of an opprobrious nature.
In the absence of such remedies I pray that Mr. Barrow be scrapped from the role of attorneys to prevent any further damage to the profession.
I belief Mr. is inter alia guilty of the following Rules of the Cape Law Society:
THE LAW SOCIETY OF THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE RULES
14. PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
Members shall comply with the rules of professional conduct set out below. A member who
fails to comply shall be guilty of unprofessional and/or dishonourable and/or unworthy
14.3 General principles
Members shall at all times –
14.3.1 maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity;
14.3.2 treat the interests of their clients as paramount, provided that their conduct shall be subject
always to –
184.108.40.206 their duty to the court;
220.127.116.11. the interests of justice;
18.104.22.168 the observation of the law; and
22.214.171.124 the maintenance of the ethical standards prescribed by this rule and generally recognised by
14.3.3 honour any undertaking given in the course of their practice unless prohibited by law;
14.3.4 refrain from doing anything which places or could place them in a position in which a client’s
interests conflict with their own or those of other clients;
14.3.5 maintain confidentiality regarding the affairs of present or former clients, unless otherwise
required by law;
14.3.6 respect the freedom of clients to be represented by the lawyer of their choice;
14.3.7 account faithfully, accurately and timeously for any of their clients’ money which comes into
their possession, keep such money separate from their own money and retain such money for
so long only as is strictly necessary;
14.3.8 retain the independence necessary to enable them to give their clients unbiased advice;
14.3.9 advise their clients at the earliest possible opportunity on the likely success of such clients’
cases and not generate unnecessary work nor involve their clients in unnecessary expense;
14.3.10 use their best efforts to carry out work in a competent and timely manner and not take on
work which they do not reasonably believe they will be able to carry out in that manner;
14.3.11 be entitled to a reasonable fee for their work provided that no member shall fail or refuse to
carry out, or continue, a mandate on the ground of non-payment of fees and disbursements
(or the provision of advance cover therefor) if demand for such payment or provision is made
at an unreasonable time or in an unreasonable manner;
14.3.12 behave towards their colleagues, including any legal practitioner from a foreign jurisdiction,
with integrity, fairness and respect;
14.3.13 refrain from claiming specialisation or expertise in any branch of the law unless such claim is
14.3.14 refrain from doing anything which could or might bring the attorneys’ profession into disrepute.
Please take note that this is not by all means a complete list of Mr. Barrow’s unprofessional conduct throughout the years.
DREWAN BAIRD COMMUNICATION – Sensaytional – 076 349 6316
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