A now-retired solicitor of almost 45 years has agreed to being struck off after it emerged that he tried to cover up a delayed filing with the court.
John Pursley admitted that he created a compliments slip without a date and used it to lodge an application with the First Tier Property Tribunal. He had dated the application 18 March 2016 when in fact he had created the compliments slip 11 days later.
Pursley, admitted in 1976, was made subject to an internal investigation by his firm, south east practice TWM Solicitors, which found that the note did not match the tribunal’s date for receiving the application.
In a letter to his firm, Pursley accepted he sought to conceal the reason for the late submission of the application as the prospect of having blame and humiliation heaped upon him was ‘too much to bear’. He admitted to preparing a statement to the tribunal which was untrue and producing back-dated documents to verify it, and made it clear that the responsibility was solely his.
He subsequently told the Solicitors Regulation Authority that it was plain he acted in breach of regulations and accepted he had committed a dishonest act, adding that he wanted to avoid personal criticism for a mistake ‘at a time of what felt like a sustained period of persecution at work’. Pursley had only recently returned to work after a period of absence through ill health.
In a statement to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, Pursley stressed that he previously had an unblemished disciplinary record of more than 40 years and had now retired from practice.
Pursley agreed with the SRA to be struck off and pay £10,428 costs. The tribunal agreed to this outcome.