Society

Up-And-Coming Australian Lawyer Sweeney Deemed 'Too Privileged' For Jail

| by Jonathan Wolfe
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We have all heard of “too big to fail” banks, but what about “too prestigious for jail” lawyers?

Australian man Liam Danial Sweeney has a lot going for him. He is 27, an up-and-coming corporate lawyer and a graduate of a prestigious private law school.

In fact, Sweeney has so much going for him that he has been deemed too elite for prison.

On April 7, Sweeney smashed a wine glass and used it to attack a man at a casino. The victim needed stitches on his face and had to miss three weeks of work.

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Sweeney pleaded guilty to charges of intentionally causing injury  an offense that can carry a 10-year maximum prison sentence. He was originally sentenced to 18 months in jail along with a $5,000 fine, but the jail sentence was wholly suspended for two years. So if Sweeney avoids committing another crime for the next two years, he is off the hook from any jail time.

The Herald Sun quoted a few excerpts between Sweeney’s lawyer and the presiding judge, and the conversation sounds about as chummy as can be. Ian Hill, Sweeney’s attorney, told Judge Jack Vandersteen that Sweeney would have problems practicing law if he was sent to prison. The ensuing conversation is almost comical.

“I don’t think he’d last very long in jail,” Vandersteen said. "Not many people are in jail who went to [the prestigious school] Haileybury or who had your client's privileged background."

"Or who look like him,” Hill added.

Vandersteen then told Sweeney it would be "extremely devastating" for his parents, especially his father, successful Australian lawyer Dan Sweeney, to see him in court.

Source: Herald Sun