Lawyer admits to using ice but says drug was planted by client

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Former lawyer Pat Lennon has admitted in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to previously using methamphetamine with a female client but accused the same woman of planting the drugs in his shoulder bag on the night he was arrested in South Yarra.

Lennon was in court on Monday defending one charge of possessing a drug of dependence after 11 grams of methamphetamine and about $6000 in cash were found inside his bag on July 13, 2020.

Pat Lennon has represented gangland figure Mick Gatto and jockey Danny Nikolic but is no longer a lawyer after the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner decided not to renew his practising certificate, which expired in June.Credit: Jesse Marlow

He was accompanied on the night by former client and friend Hava Brandman, who has previous convictions for drug possession and trafficking. The pair had gone to meet a potential client in the Vogue apartments on Malcolm Street when they were intercepted by undercover officers in an unmarked vehicle.

During Monday’s hearing, magistrate Brett Sonnet issued Lennon with a Section 128, which protected him under the Evidence Act against potential self-incrimination, after prosecutor Georgia McMaster asked if he had ever used methamphetamine with Brandman.

Lennon confirmed he had, he insisted he had not used the drug – commonly known as ice – since 2017 or 2018.

“It would be years ago. She introduced me to it; she started me on it,” Lennon told the court.

Pat Lennon, who was intercepted by undercover officers in an unmarked vehicle, says he has not used ice for years..

The 59-year-old told the court that Brandman had admitted to planting the drugs and apologised, when they met at his Queen Street offices on the morning after his arrest.

“I was obviously upset. I said, ‘What the f—?’ She said sorry and said she put them in my bag because I was a lawyer,” Lennon told the court.

He said the $6000 in cash found in the shoulder bag, and more money found at his Caulfield North home when police executed a warrant on July 14, 2020, were the legitimate proceeds of his legal practice.

Lennon’s barrister, Dermot Dan, KC, said Brandman had the opportunity and motive to secretly put the drugs in Lennon’s bag because of her criminal history and the perception that Lennon was less likely to be searched by police because he was a lawyer.

Dan also pointed to a series of anomalies in the evidence provided to the court by Brandman and two police officers, including Lennon’s demeanour, the location of his shoulder bag, the brand of the bag and the alleged existence of a rolled up $20 note.

“The prosecution case relies on three witnesses, who all say different things… the prosecution can’t ignore it, and nor can Your Honour,” Dan said.

At a hearing in August, Brandman denied planting the drugs on Lennon, but Magistrate Sonnet found her evidence and that of one of the arresting officers to be unreliable.

Sonnet said he would hand down his verdict of Lennon’s charges on December 15.

Lennon, who has represented underworld figure Mick Gatto and jockey Danny Nikolic, is no longer a lawyer after the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner decided not to renew his practising certificate, which expired in June.

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