Melbourne lawyer Alex Lewenberg facing sanctions over alleged comments to Jewish child sex abuse victim

Shannon Deery (Herald Sun)
November 9, 2015

A veternam lawyer accused of pressuring a child sex abuse victim not to help police is facing disciplinary action that could end his career.

Alex Lewenberg has survived a house bombing, a stabbing and a shooting during a colourful legal career as a criminal defence lawyer representing notorious crooks -including Boris "The Black Diamond'" Beljajev, Tony Mokbel's brother, Horty, and former bikie gang boss Brendan Peterson.

But the former boxer now faces a possible career-ending knockout blow after an investigation by the state's legal watchdog into comments he made to a victim of child sexual abuse.

The Jewish victim had helped police in their prosecution of notorious Jewish paedophile David Cyprys.

In covertly recorded conversations, Mr Lewenberg, fresh from representing Cyprys, was heard telling the victim Jews shouldn't help police prosecute fellow Jews.

"I am not exactly delighted that another Yid would assist police against an accused, no matter whatever he is accused of," Mr Lewenberg said.

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

Mr Lewenberg is understood to have admitted making the comments, and similar comments while in court representing Cyprys, but has told the Legal Services Commissioner they must be understood in context.

Cyprys was jailed for the abuse of a string of children aged seven to 17 in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Legal Services Commissioner has applied to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for orders against Mr Lewenberg after finding there was a likelihood he would be found guilty of professional misconduct.

VCAT can impose fines, suspend practising certificates or make a recommendation to the Supreme Court that practitioners be disbarred.

"The comments ascribed to Mr Lewenberg would reasonably be regarded by fellow legal practitioners of good repute and competency as comments that were disgraceful or dishonourable," the Legal Services Commissioner said in a letter seen by the Herald Sun.

Victims advocate Manny Waks, himself a victim of Cyprys, said it was difficult to see how Mr Lewenberg could be allowed to continue practise.

"I hope that Mr Lewenberg is appropriately sanctioned," Mr Waks said.