Michael McGarvie, in his role as Victorian Legal Services Commissioner (VLSC), reminded me of the high school prefect who once dobbed me in for not wearing my school tie home on the bus. He had his understanding of the rules, and was prepared to wield them as he pleased. But apparently the rules did not apply to him or to those he favoured.
I experienced the ‘high school prefect’ when I took an estate agent to task over his ignoring of the lawyer/client relationship, and concluded by telling him that he should change the name of his estate agency (the estate agent’s business name was ‘Half-percent Real Estate‘, and I had told the agent that he should have named his business ‘Half-wit Real Estate‘).
Mr McGarvie sent me a letter telling me that the estate agent’s complaint had been summarily dismissed, but he sent the estate agent a letter falsely stating that he would ‘warn’ me. I wrote to Mr McGarvie and requested that he should again write to the estate agent to confirm that no ‘warning’ was warranted and that no ‘warning’ had been given.
Although Mr McGarvie conceded that I had been denied natural justice in the circumstances, he refused to withdraw his false statement. I sensed that Mr McGarvie was not used to being held to account, and that it was not something he was likely to forget.
I believe that it was this very minor exchange that created an animosity that would affect Mr McGarvie’s judgement and give rise to decisions that would later generate allegations of corrupt conduct.
To be continued…