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REIQ Journal : July 2008
Legal Issues 31 Salesperson disqualified following conviction of an indictable offence By Paul Hopkins, Senior Partner, Carter Newell Lawyers On 8 May 2008, the Commercial and Consumer Tribunal disqualified a salesperson from holding a licence under the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 for a period of four years and imposed conditions upon her salesperson’s certificate following her conviction for an offence under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986: The Chief Executive, Department of Tourism, Fair Trading and Wine Industry Development v K  CCT PD017-07. IN NOVEMBER 2006, the sentencing court found that in February 2004 the respondent had permitted her house to be used to store illicit drugs (ecstasy tablets). The Crown estimated the street value of the drugs to be about $400,000. At the time of her arrest, the respondent was 22 years old and had been in a relationship with a 37-year-old man for about two years. A psychologist’s report tendered at the sentencing described the relationship as “power-dependent” with evidence that the respondent had been “completely manipulated and fooled by this man”. The respondent was convicted of a breach of section 11 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986; namely permitting a place (of which the respondent was the occupier) to be used for the commission of a crime under part 2 of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986, which deals with drug trafficking. The respondent was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, wholly suspended on the condition that she did not commit another offence punishable by imprisonment within two years. Shortly after her arrest, the respondent indicated that she would plead guilty to the offence. Before the sentencing hearing, the respondent found work in the real estate industry and obtained a salesperson’s certificate. Evidence from referees for the respondent suggested that she enjoyed her work in the industry and had good prospects of succeeding in the long-term. The court noted that she had demonstrated that she was no longer using illicit substances and had put considerable work into her rehabilitation. The Chief Executive of the Department of Tourism, Fair Trading and Wine Industry Development sought an order from the Tribunal disqualifying the respondent from holding a licence or a registration certificate for a period of five years. The respondent submitted that there was a distinction between professional and personal misconduct. She argued that in circumstances of personal misconduct, there is a reduced REIQ Journal July 2008