Federal Labor Party leader Bill Shorten and federal Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos both use the same law firm, Arnold Bloch Leibler, to conceal their criminal conduct. In an unusual twist their lawyers were last week forced to defend allegations that they concealed allegations of rape by one of the staff at Arnold Bloch Leibler against another staff member.
Bill Shorten was represented pro bono by Arnold Bloch Leibler (ABL) when he gave evidence at the Trade Union Royal Commission. I am unsure if they also represented Bill Shorten when he was investigated by the Victoria Police for rape in 2013/14 and if they did whether it was also pro bono.
And it is only 2 weeks ago that ALB partner Mark Leibler, on behalf of Arthur Sinodinos, sent a frivolous, vexatious and baseless letter threatening the chairperson of the NSW Electoral Commission in attempt to cover-up Mr Sinodinos’ involvement in money laundering. (Click here to read the letter) (Click here to read my detailed report on the 26/3/16)
Mark Leibler’s letter was so frivolous, vexatious and baseless that when Keith Mason, chairperson of the NSW Electoral Commission, stopped laughing he sent a reply dismissing the letter as a bad joke. (Click here to read Mr Mason’s reply)
Fairfax Media’s allegations of Arnold Bloch Leibler concealing rape
On Wednesday the 30th March Fairfax Media ran a story says that Arnold Bloch Leibler “did not report to police an allegation that a former Melbourne office manager raped a legal clerk” even though ABL “notified its insurance company” of the alleged rape.
The story then quoted Victoria’s Legal Services Commissioner Michael McGarvie who said:
…..all law firms had an obligation under occupational health and safety laws to report (crime) to police if “actual harm or the threat of harm was brought to their attention”.
If motivated to report an incident to an insurance company, an employer presumably had enough information to report the matter to a higher authority, he said.
The licensing system for the legal fraternity also conferred a responsibility to act with integrity, Mr McGarvie said.
“The licence given to a lawyer assumes they are a fit and proper person to give legal services to the community.”
Fairfax Media delete the story and publish an apology
For some strange and unexplained reason on the 31 March 2016 the story disappears and an apology is published:
“A report published by Fairfax Media on March 30 stated that law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler failed to report rape allegations to the police.”
“Senior Partner Mark Leibler said he was satisfied the firm had complied with all reporting obligations, but was unable to say more while the matter was before the courts.”
“Fairfax Media accepts that Arnold Bloch Leibler complied with its obligations and apologises for any distress caused by the article.” (Click here to read on their website)
Above is the whole apology but there is no actual denial of the key allegation that staff at Arnold Bloch Leibler concealed the alleged rape. It is weird and the only conclusion that I can see is that Fairfax did not delete the article for legal reasons but as a favor for Mark Leibler and ABL.
As far as “Mark Leibler said he was satisfied the firm had complied with all reporting obligations, but was unable to say more while the matter was before the courts”. It sounds very much like the letter he sent to Keith Mason, chairperson of the NSW Electoral Commission, which we know had no credibility whatsoever.
And on what basis does “Fairfax Media accepts that Arnold Bloch Leibler complied with its obligations”? They do not say. It is almost guaranteed that a phone call would have gone through to Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood or Fairfax general counsel Gail Hambly and they have done Mark Leibler a favor at a cost to the credibility of Fairfax Media’s papers and ultimately costing Fairfax’s shareholders.
Police have since investigated and charged former Arnold Bloch Leibler employee Dale Patrick Cooney with two counts of rape. So we will be hearing more of this soon when it goes to trial in May 2016 but then again maybe not if Mark Leibler has his way and Fairfax are compliant again.
Parts of the story survived on other websites
I did save a link to the story but it has obviously gone but luckily two others sites have at least part of the story. Michael Smith News wrote an article and saved part of the story (Click here to read) and Lawyers Weekly wrote a story about Fairfax’s back down which seems to have been fed to them by Arnold Bloch Leibler. (Click here to read more) (Or click here to read)
Email questions sent to Mark Leibler
I sent Mark Leibler the below questions which at the time of writing this article he has not responded.
From: SHANE DOWLING
Sent: Tuesday, 5 April 2016 11:58 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Cc: ‘Arthur Sinodinos’ <Senator.Sinodinos@aph.gov.au>; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Media questions – ABL covering up rape
Dear Mr Leibler
I publish the website Kangaroo Court of Australia and I will be posting an article regarding your firm and two of your clients and have a couple of questions.
Fairfax Media ran a story about your law firm on the 30th March 2016 that was titled “One of Australia’s most prestigious commercial law firms did not report to police an allegation that a former Melbourne office manager raped a legal clerk.” And said:
“Senior staff at Arnold Bloch Leibler were said to have been made aware of the sexual assault allegation in 2001 and notified its insurance company.”
“Victoria Police launched an investigation last year after receiving a complaint from a woman and charged former Arnold Bloch Leibler employee, Dale Patrick Cooney, 47, with two counts of rape.”
“Mr Cooney will face the County Court in May 2016, and the trial is expected to also examine the conduct of senior staff at the prominent law firm.”
The article was gone on the 31st March 2016 and an apology posted stating: “Senior Partner Mark Leibler said he was satisfied the firm had complied with all reporting obligations, but was unable to say more while the matter was before the courts.”
Given your complaint to Fairfax Media and their retraction I have a number of questions:
- Were you aware of the alleged rape at the time or around the time that it allegedly happened? Were any of your staff members aware and if so who?
- Is it true that you or someone in your firm notified your insurance company? If so, who at your law firm notified them?
- Was the alleged rape reported to the police? If it wasn’t reported to the police, then why wasn’t it?
- In your complaint to Fairfax Media you fail to deny the key allegation that an employee or employees of your law firm concealed the serious indictable offence of rape. Why have you refused to deny that when you had the opportunity? To me your failure to deny it is a clear admission that it is true, is that correct?
- How did you make your complaint to Fairfax Media? Did you phone Fairfax’s CEO Greg Hywood or call Fairfax’s General Counsel Gail Hambly?
- Your law firm represented Labor leader Bill Shorten pro bono for the Trade Union Royal Commission. Is your law firm also representing Senator Arthur Sinodinos pro bono?
- Did your law firm also represent Bill Shorten when the Victorian police were investigating him for rape? If so, was that also pro bono?
Before responding you should consider getting independent legal advice and you would probably be well advised to make sure your own personal professional indemnity insurance is current. I will be publishing in the next 24 hours so it would be greatly appreciated if you could respond by the close of business on Wednesday the 6th April 2016.
Arnold Bloch Leibler are hardly the biggest law firm in Australia and probably not even a top ten firm so it does seem odd how they have come to represent both sides of politics. With the rape trial due in May hopefully we will get to the truth and if the truth reveals that Arnold Bloch Leibler concealed the rape, which Mark Leibler is refusing to deny, then they need to be charged and the Labor and Liberal parties should give an undertaking to never use them again.
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