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Australian Authorities Investigating Claim That Judge Bullied Lawyer Prior to Suicide

Posted Aug 20, 2010 1:38 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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Australian authorities are investigating allegations that a judge may have bullied a young legal aid lawyer just weeks before she committed suicide.

Dragana Nuic, a 22-year-old legal aid lawyer, died in March after jumping off "The Gap," an oceanside cliff in Sydney's eastern suburbs that is popular with people intent on taking their own lives.

Western Australia Attorney General Christian Porter confirmed that a complaint had been filed against the unnamed judge, who allegedly "berated" the young lawyer in court shortly before her death, according to an AAP report in the Sidney Morning Herald.

Porter said he had been provided with a preliminary assessment of the complaint and was awaiting further legal advice before deciding on a possible course of action.

Under West Australian law, the attorney general has the power to suspend a judge while the chief judge conducts an inquiry into allegations of misconduct, the paper reported.

One lawyer told the news service the judge had given Nuic a "dressing down" in court in the weeks before she committed suicide. Another lawyer said that news of the incident, which reportedly has been taped and transcribed, has been well known within the legal community for several months.

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