Time for cockroach to get involved in fowl business
Many years ago as a younger attorney, the flamboyant Vernon De Lima, now senior counsel, berated a police court prosecutor who was "tackling" him at the Bar in a murder enquiry, and counsel in his still inimitable style, pounding the Bar table, declared, "cockroach must not get in fowl business". Poor prosecutor!
That refrain stayed years with me, and at times when both my usually reliable instinct and limited intellect screamed at me to say my piece or rebut on many issues in the profession, I will remember Vernon De Lima, and the cockroach comes out in me and I stayed put, especially when the fowls who are crowing are no ordinary yard fowls, but big fowl cocks—the pride of the yard.
The most recent public blow-out between two leading legal luminaries, one my president of the Bar Association and the other the self-appointed guardian and/or repository of the ethics, professional and moral values of the legal profession, forces this cockroach to emerge and say to hell with the cocks—the fowl cocks that is. And I believe that it is more than time that we cockroaches begin to get in these cocks' business.
When lawyers, especially young lawyers, have to seek the guidance and wisdom of the president of the Law Association to determine whether or not they may or may not be in a conflict-of- interest situation, and the very president himself had to "receive advice" as to whether or not he is in conflict of interest, then the cockroaches must come out.
When my president tells me that "there was no good reason to return the brief and that he was satisfied he breached no ethical or professional standards", yet refuses or does not appear to have the testicular fortitude to stand firm, on what he considers, the side of principle and true professionalism, so as to be the true leader of the association and set the required standards and say to hell with the so-called "public perception" (however that is determined) and refuses to be the leading cock in the yard, then the cockroaches must be holding their waist and wining!
When my president, hopefully after fully considering all the ramifications of accepting a brief in those circumstances (after all, this is senior counsel), accepts the brief on or about the 4th October, 2012 and fully ensconced himself therein, and then proceeds to engage in an exercise of intellectual gymnastics to proclaim adherence to the highest standards in the profession, the cockroaches must be wondering.
And, then there is the self-appointed guardian of the profession, one who, as cited, in the law reports, states that others must tremble "when you hear my voice". So the president falters, and badly. And the relevant Part A of the Third Schedule of the Legal Profession Act, is wantonly abused, resulting in the unprecedented and disgusting tirade involving a "mamoo" and the totally unconnected nephew's "batee" and all the other accompanying subliminal messages.
But the crowning irony is that whilst my president condemns the other for rushing to the press and so violating Rules 1 and 41 (which he did), he does the exact thing with greater vulgarity! He simply could not write privately to him in the spirit and letter of Rules 1 and 41 and simply tell the press "I have responded" and reclaim his glory. My president couldn't lift the bar. Massive egos were bruised. The press gave front and full page. Every, and at times, disgusting words were printed. Cockroach cyan get dat!