Ahmed Mohamed Hersi
Hearing 11-12 July 2018
Reasons 20 August 2018
The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £4,000. The respondent had breached rules 32(1), 32(4), 32(7) and 32(9) of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998 and rules 29.1, 29.4, 29.7, 29.12, 29.13 and 29.24 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011. He had acted in breach of rule 5.01 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007 and principle 8 of the SRA Principles 2011.
He had failed to account for counsels’ fees to Garden Court Chambers for the sum of £7,956.91, in breach of rules 1.06 and 5.01 of the code and principles 6 and 8.
The respondent had been distracted by his litigation with the Legal Aid Agency, which involved complex High Court proceedings. He had given no consideration to the risk to the firm and had been naive in his governance of it.
Individual barristers were still awaiting their fees, with £2,000 outstanding. His omissions had been repeated and on his own case, he would probably not have paid counsel at all had the SRA not investigated him. The non-payment had continued for eight years.
The respondent had no insight at all and the SDT was concerned that he could still not accept that his conduct had fallen below the standard required of a solicitor.
Matters were mitigated to a certain extent by the fact that the respondent had paid £5,900 of what he owed.
The appropriate sanction in the case, noting that there had been no allegations of dishonesty or lack of integrity, was a fine of £4,000.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £10,000.
Andrew John Peters
Hearing 14 June 2018
Reasons 25 July 2018
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. The respondent had failed to properly account for money received from clients, in breach of rules 14.1 and 17.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and principles 2, 4, 6 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011. He had acted dishonestly.
By virtue of his criminal convictions for motoring offences on 24 May 2016 and 31 May 2016, the respondent had breached principles 1, 2 and 6.
By failing to report to the SRA his criminal convictions from 24 May 2016 and 31 May 2016 and the county court judgment against him under case number B2CD51M5, he had failed to achieve outcome 10.3 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 and had breached principle 7.
Dishonesty had been alleged and proved, the misconduct was deliberate, calculated and repeated, and had continued over a period of time.
The respondent had not sought to make good the losses or notify the regulator of what he had done. He appeared to have no insight into the severity of his conduct. The severity of what the respondent had done was aggravated by two separate criminal offences having been committed and his failure to report the misconduct to his regulator. The only mitigating factor was that he had made some admissions.
A finding that an allegation of dishonesty had been proved would almost invariably lead to striking off, save in exceptional circumstances.
No such exceptional circumstances could be seen in the present case and the respondent himself accepted that he was not fit to practise.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £19,000.
Furse Sanders Ltd
The SRA has intervened into the above-named practice. The firm’s former practice address was 13‑14 Broad Street, South Molton, Devon EX36 3AF. The firm closed on 30 April and entered creditors’ voluntary liquidation on 14 June.
The SRA intervened because there had been a relevant insolvent event in relation to the firm, and it was necessary to protect the interests of clients or former clients of the firm.
No intervention agent has been appointed.