A solicitor who wrote allegedly misleading statements in letters to a client and a third party has been fined £5,000 by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Mohammad Homayon Reza, who was admitted to the roll in November 2011, claimed in two letters and an email that he had made a series of mistakes in a statutory declaration to Tower Hamlets council, the judgment states.
The statutory declaration was sent as part of a client’s ‘Help to Buy’ application.
In reality, however, Reza had not made any mistakes – he had simply followed his client’s instructions.
According to the judgment, Reza claimed he initially thought he had made mistakes in the declaration. His client had been ‘very, very angry’, said the mistakes had been Reza’s fault and that Reza had caused his brother to lose his job.
The judgement states: ’The respondent said that Client A kept repeatedly saying it was the respondent’s mistake and he made the respondent feel guilty.’
When Reza looked back over his files he realised he had not made a mistake after all. A week later he wrote to Tower Hamlets council informing them he retracted his former correspondence.
The tribunal found that Reza had behaved in a way that did not maintain the trust the public placed in him and in the provision of legal services.
However, contrary to the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority’s allegations, the tribunal concluded that Reza’s actions did not amount to a lack of integrity. It said: ‘The respondent tried to rectify what he genuinely albeit mistakenly believed had been his error.’
It also did not find proof of dishonesty or that Reza had acted recklessly.
The respondent has been ordered to pay costs of £17,000.