A culture of corruption has developed in the office of the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner. In recent years I have had first-hand experience of retribution, lies, harassment and serious criminal conduct involving perjury and the perverting of the course of justice by VLSC investigators and their supervisors. I have also received what I would describe as an ‘incentive’ of $80,000 to keep quiet and move on.
What began as clumsy retribution by the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner (VLSC), in response to my lodging of a formal complaint against VLSC officers, has become a self-perpetuating problem for the incumbent Legal Services Commissioner, Ms Fiona McLeay. Covering up corruption IS corruption, and the cover up must then be covered up, and so it goes and grows until someone sounds a blast on the whistle.
I can’t be sure whether it started with me, or if I am just the first to expose it, but no matter how it started, the important fact is that the VLSC has a serious corruption problem. And corruption, like cancer, doesn’t just go away – it metastasises.
An Example of Metastasising Corruption
Last year Ms McLeay (assisted by Ms Danielah Iacono) withheld my Practising Certificate, but without giving me reasons for doing so. (I believe it was to pressure me into abandoning my corruption complaints against her and a number of her officers – see my whistle-blast letter, referred to below.)
After pressing her either to issue my Practising Certificate or to give valid reasons for withholding it, I decided that enough was enough and I blew the whistle.
Express Practising Certificate Renewal
Ms McLeay replied to my whistle-blast letter that same day. She acknowledged that my complaints were serious, but claimed that they were unfounded. (I doubted that Ms McLeay had really looked into my complaints, given that I had emailed my letter to her at 8.44 a.m., and her reply reached me at 10.30 a.m. – a period of just under two hours to read my 5 page letter, look into my complaints, and to reply with a 2 page letter of her own. There is also the problem of Ms McLeay’s supposed inability to investigate complaints against her own staff, but more on this later.)
Despite implying that I had made false allegations, Ms McLeay informed me,
“I have decided to renew your practising certificate for the current practising year.”
At 4.33 p.m. that same day I received an email from Ms Danielah Iacono advising me,
“I have today processed your application through our database and you should therefore receive your practising certificate tomorrow.”
At 12.50 a.m. that night I received my Practising Certificate.
A gift of $80,000
Ms McLeay became increasingly anxious to have me enter into ‘discussions’ with Ms Danielah Iacono. I could smell a rat, and so I insisted that if discussions were to be had they should take place at my Croydon office, rather than at VLSC head office in Melbourne.
A couple of months later Ms McLeay gave me what could be described as a ‘gift’ of $80,000. My impression was that I was meant to accept this gift in return for abandoning my corruption complaints.
I believe that Ms McLeay and Ms Iacono had panicked when they realised that I was blowing the whistle on them, and they wanted to do everything possible to make me and the problem go away. But, as I have said previously, corruption is like cancer – it doesn’t just go away, it metastasises.
It this case a radical “corruptectomy” is the only treatment that will allow the office of the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner recover.
Fiona McLeay must resign or be dismissed!