Solicitor Alex Lewenberg probed over allegations of pressuring a child abuse victim

By Shannon Deery (The Herald Sun)
July 21, 2015

The legal watchdog is eyeing a solicitor over allegations he pressured a child sex abuse victim over assisting police.

Veteran lawyer Alex Lewenberg is being investigated by the Legal Services Commissioner over comments to a victim of notorious Jewish paedophile David Cyprys.

A complaint was made in March.

In covertly recorded conversations Mr Lewenberg, who had represented Cyprys, is said to be heard telling the victim Jews shouldn't help police prosecute fellow Jews.

According to the recording, Mr Lewenberg told the victim: "I am not exactly delighted that another Yid would assist police against an accused, no matter whatever he is accused of, and that is the reason why I was very disappointed.

"Because there is a tradition, if not a religious requirement, that you do not assist against (the people of) Abraham)."

The recordings were given to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and parts of them were read into the transcript as evidence.

The victim helped police in their prosecution of Cyprys.

Cyprys was charged in 2011 with more than 40 child sex offences spanning the 1980s and 1990s and involving children aged seven to 17.

A jury found him guilty of five charges of rape against one former student, and he pleaded guilty to a further 12 assault-related charges against eight other complainants.

The Legal Services Commissioner would not comment on the investigation.

In 1989, Mr Lewenberg was fined $3000 and his practising certificate was cancelled for unprofessional behaviour.

A Supreme Court judge found while there was no suggestion Mr Lewenberg had gained financially from the behaviour, he could not be trusted in his dealings with other solicitors.

Mr Lewenberg had behaved disgracefully and dishonestly, had shown no remorse, and was unfit to be a solicitor, the judge said.

But on appeal, the cancellation of Mr Lewenberg's certificate was reduced from three years to two years.

Mr Lewenberg did not respond to requests from the Herald Sun for comment on the investigation.