A solicitor who claimed £1,185 in false business expenses has been struck off the roll.
John Robert Brookes, who worked for London firm Capsticks, misrepresented his expenses to bosses in a meeting in April 2014 before admitting two days later his statements were not true.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard Brookes made a total of 10 expenses claims from August 2012 to February 2014, before the beginning of an internal firm investigation.
His claims included almost £400 in claims for expenses that in fact related to drinks and dinner with his wife and friends to celebrate her 50th birthday.
The tribunal also heard about a string of train tickets, taxi fares and hotel bookings which he was not entitled to claim for.
A sum of £9,634 was billed to clients by Brookes, all of which was refunded by the firm.
Following Brookes’ dismissal by Capsticks, the firm made arrangements for its laptop in his possession to be collected by a courier in April 2014. Brookes eventually returned the computer in July 2015.
The tribunal found six allegations proved against Brookes, which included charges of dishonesty.
Brookes, who was admitted to the roll in 2010, was found to have assured his bosses that entertainment meetings for the expenses claims had taken place, before then admitting they were false. He admitted claiming travel expenses using wrong receipts.
In mitigation, Brookes, who did not appear at the hearing last month, said he had been trying to address a number of issues in his personal life, including the breakdown of his marriage. His actions had resulted in the loss of his marriage, his career and the trust of friends and colleagues.
‘I hope that my acknowledgement of the failings in my conduct previously, and my commitment to meeting the required standard of conduct in the future will be relevant and can be taken into account,’ added Brookes.
The tribunal accepted Brookes had enjoyed a successful and unblemished career, and had insight into his misconduct.
But it added: ‘The dishonest conduct was deliberate, calculated and repeated over a significant period of time, and related to both expenses for which the firm was responsible, and expenses that were then billed to clients.’
He was struck off the roll and ordered to pay £9,757 in SRA costs.