A City solicitor who fabricated an email and tried to cover it up when questioned by senior members of his firm has escaped a dishonesty charge after medical evidence was taken into account.
Instead the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ruled that Daniel Smith, a former associate at international firm Eversheds, be suspended for 12 months, suspended for two years, for failing to act with integrity or act in a way that maintains public’s trust in the profession.
According to the judgment, the Solicitors Regulation Authority did not pursue dishonesty charges after medical evidence was produced. The tribunal said that although Smith’s actions had caused harm to the profession ‘his culpability was reduced because he was suffering from [a medical condition] and that impaired his judgment.’ The condition was not specified.
Smith, 35, was admitted in October 2009. He worked at Eversheds, now Eversheds Sutherland, between 2010 and 2016.
According to the judgment, Smith fabricated an email which he dated 16 December 2015. He then forwarded the backdated email to a senior associate and partner at the firm and mislead them in responses to queries they raised.
The tribunal said that, given the contents of the medical report, it accepted the SRA’s application not to pursue dishonesty charges. It added that the duration of misconduct had been brief, Smith had no previous record and had cooperated with the SRA.
Smith will be required to submit half-yearly reports to SRA on mental health and fitness to practice. A costs penalty of £4,379.00 was imposed which the parties agreed that Smith would pay.
The decision is the third time in recent weeks the tribunal has opted not to strike off a solicitor after taking account of medical issues.