A senior crown prosecutor jailed for falsifying his expenses to claim for phantom journeys to court has been struck off the roll of solicitors. Eoin MacCarthy, a solicitor for 32 years, submitted claims for journeys from his home address in Devon to Bristol Crown Court over a six-and-a-half-year period, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard. In total around £5,000 was claimed for 60 journeys that never happened.
He pleaded guilty to fraud in August 2017, accepting he had acted dishonesty and with the intention of making a gain for himself.
The tribunal heard tht MacCarthy had worked with the CPS for more than 20 years and that at his office all staff were entitled to sign off their own expenses.
His fraudulent claims came to light as a result of a routine audit: his conduct was 'easily discovered’, with claims made on dates when he was on annual leave. When confronted over the claims, MacCarthy immediately and readily admitted his wrongdoing and he was later dismissed for gross misconduct.
The tribunal judgment said prison had been 'extremely difficult' for a solicitor ordinarily involved in the prosecution of serious ciminal offences. 'He was hugely embarrassed and remorseful of his criminal conduct, which had serious consequences for his career and had impact on his familial relationships. [MacCarthy] had not told his wife about the criminal proceedings, she only became aware when he called her from prison after being sentenced.'
The tribunal said given his position he was expected, even more than most solicitors, to conduct himself with probity, integrity and trustworthiness, adding: 'It was his role to prosecute criminal acts, no indulge in them himself'.
MacCarthy was struck off the roll and ordered to pay £1,600 in costs.