A solicitor who began evading train fares within a year of being admitted has been struck off the roll.
Adam Kemeny avoided paying around £650 in fares to travel from east London to Redhill in Kent, but was caught out in October 2017 when a Govia ticket inspector checked his ticket.
Kemeny, who earned £38,000 a year, had noticed three months earlier he could leave stations without ‘tapping out’ his travel card, and eventually started skipping the whole daily return fare of almost £17. The outstanding fares were calculated by Govia at £650, and Kemeny reported himself to the Solicitors Regulation Authority after a settlement had been made. He was dismissed by his firm and has since found work for an outsourcing company checking documents for ongoing litigation.
Kememy told a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing he had ‘taken his eye off the ball’ and insisted he would usually do the right thing in his personal and professional life.
He said the voice in his head which would stopped him doing something wrong was ‘switched off’ and he had ‘acted automatically’ during his four-hour round commute.
He agreed he chose not to pay the fares and it was not because he could not afford to. Kemeny told the tribunal he was ‘incredibly embarrassed’ but he retained the faith of his family who knew how much he loved being a solicitor.
The tribunal found Kemeny had acted dishonestly and he continued to commit misconduct over a period of time. He knew – or ought reasonably to have known – that his actions were in breach of the obligations to protect the public and the reputation of the legal profession. Despite Kemeny stating that he intended to end his misconduct, his actions ceased only when he was caught by the inspector.
The tribunal determined the only appropriate sanction was strike off. Kemeny was ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.