A solicitor caught drink-driving three times in the space of a month has been fined £2,000 by a tribunal.
Aidan Loy, 57, racked up three offences between 11 November 2013 and 8 December 2013 and was handed a suspended 20-week sentence in February 2014 at North Cumbria Magistrates’ Court.
The outcome of his court hearing came to the attention of the Solicitors Regulation Authority in late 2016 when an individual sent a letter enclosing a copy of a 2014 article in the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald with details of the conviction. The article stated it was his fifth such offence in total. Loy, who does not hold a practising certificate, had wrongly reported details of his conviction in 2014 to the Law Society rather than the SRA.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard last month that Loy admitted his convictions but maintained he was honest and held strong moral principles, so he denied displaying any lack of integrity. He also denied breaching the principle that solicitors behave in a way that maintains public trust, arguing he was not acting as a solicitor or providing legal services at the time of his convictions.
The tribunal accepted that not every drink-drive offence would raise questions of integrity, and, having self-reported to the Law Society, Loy might have expected no action to be taken after two years. But the tribunal also noted that a suspended custodial sentence was imposed by the court in part because of the high levels of alcohol in his system and the repetition of his conduct. All allegations were found proven against the solicitor of 21 years.
‘As an experienced solicitor [he] should have been aware of the potential for harm to the reputation of the profession to result from such actions,’ said the tribunal.
Loy submitted in mitigation that he was suffering from ill health at the time of his convictions, he had taken steps to address his behaviour and there were no offences after late 2013.
The tribunal took account of Loy’s financial means and reduced his fine by 75% to £2,000. He must also pay £750 costs.