A criminal defence solicitor has been struck off after advising a client to abscond to avoid arrest.

Nicholas Marray (pictured), 52, who served a two-year jail sentence after his conviction in 2013, was stuck off in his absence at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal today.

The tribunal heard that Liverpool solicitor Marray told a client wanted by police in relation to drugs offences to take a ferry from Stranraer in Scotland and then onto Dublin.

The police had carried out a major operation related to suspected drug dealers in the Merseyside area, and had mistakenly thought the client was still in prison. As it was, he had been released, and Marray gave him advance notice of his pending arrest. The tribunal heard the client had ‘got as close as possible’ to escaping the country before officers managed to arrest him.

The solicitor has been described as the ‘go-to guy for some of Merseyside’s most notorious crooks’. He was caught giving the advice to leave the country on a secret bug.

Emma Priest, prosecuting on behalf of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, said Marray had moved from being a ‘guardian of justice to one of its enemies’.

‘This was a major police investigation into the scourge of class-A drugs on Merseyside. The effect was very nearly to achieve his aim [of getting away].’

Marray was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court of perverting the court of justice. In sentencing, the judge had told Marray he took extra account of his status as a solicitor and the trust placed in him by the public.

The tribunal upheld allegations that he failed to uphold the law, failed to act with integrity and failed to behave in a manner which maintains the trust of the public in the legal profession.

As well as striking him off, the tribunal ordered Marray to pay costs of £3,350.