A commercial property solicitor struck off for falsifying documents with Tipp-Ex ‘honestly believed his conduct was common practice’, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal was told.
Nicholas St John Gething, admitted in 1999, was found to have changed the dates on copies of legal charges before submitting them to Companies House, in two separate property transactions. He was an assistant solicitor at Surrey firm Howell Jones LLP at the time.
The tribunal heard that Gething missed his 21-day deadline after filling in an accompanying form incorrectly. He subsequently submitted further copies of the charges to the registrar which had been re-dated with Tipp-Ex to make it appear that they were being delivered within the time limit.
The tribunal found that Gething had ‘failed to act with moral soundness, rectitude and a steady adherence to an ethical code’, adding that he ‘did not seem to understand or appreciate the seriousness of what he had done’.
Gething told the tribunal that he thought his conduct was ‘common and unobjectionable’. He added that after he had been made redundant in September 2019, he had attended one firm for interview and they were surprised when he had informed them of the reasons why he had been referred to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, as they took a similar approach to such cases.
The tribunal concluded that it is ‘absolutely sacrosanct’ that solicitors do not in mislead third parties in any way. It ordered that Gething be struck off the roll of solicitors and ordered him to pay costs of £5,731.