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PHILLIP Sycamore's colleagues on the Law Society's ruling council have reacted with sympathy towards the leaking of a document appearing to implicate him in a dirty tricks campaign against his presidential rival Martin Mears.
A survey of 20 members of the council revealed that most accept that Sycamore's campaign group, which was at the centre of a storm of adverse publicity last week, is an inevitable product of a politicised Law Society.
They also appear willing to accept Sycamore's explanation that leaked minutes of one of the group's meetings - in which it is suggested that private detectives be hired to tail Mears - did not accurately reflect what went on at the meeting.
Of the respondents, none of whom were standing in the presidential elections, not one believed Sycamore should resign from the council, and only one backed Martin Mears' call for him to stand down from the presidential elections.
Of the suggested tactics contained in the leaked minutes, drawn up by Simon Baker, Sycamore's election campaign manager, half believed a negative campaign against Mears was acceptable.
There was unanimous agreement that hiring private detectives would have been either unacceptable or deplorable. But the majority of respondents said it was reasonable for the group to have raised the tactic only to immediately rule it out.
A typical response was that of recently-elected council member Andrew Holroyd, who described the affair as "a storm in a teacup".
However, one respondent commented: "The members of his group have spent the last 12 months chanting a mantra of peace, goodwill and reconciliation. It can now be seen what really goes on behind closed doors."
Another respondent called on Simon Baker to resign from the council.