Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Raymond St John Murphy
Hearing 14-17 May, 23-26 October 2018
Reasons 12 December 2018
The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £12,500. It further ordered that he should be subject to the following conditions: that he might not practise as a sole practitioner or sole manager or sole owner of an authorised or recognised body; be a partner or member of a limited liability partnership, legal disciplinary practice or alternative business structure or other authorised or recognised body; be a compliance officer for legal practice or a compliance officer for finance and administration; hold client money or be a signatory on any client account; with liberty to either party to apply to vary those conditions.
The respondent had failed to remedy the shortage in the client account of St John Law Limited (to whom client account monies in Merriman White had been transferred on its closure) caused by improper transfers made from the client bank account to the office bank account of Merriman White, in breach of rule 7 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and principle 10 of the SRA Principles 2011.
He had failed to provide the SRA forensic investigator with ledgers on which the improper transfers had occurred in a timely manner in breach of the SRA Principles 2011.
The respondent’s motivation was misguided. He thought that he was in the right and that he would be vindicated.
The more serious of the allegations found proved related to failure to make good the client account shortage. The respondent had had total control in respect of that failure. He thought there was no shortfall because he believed the transfers to be correct so when the applicant found one he did nothing about it.
It was an aggravating factor that the respondent had been before the SDT before where there was a similarity in the allegations. After the previous appearance he should have been more aware of accounting issues and had more insight into the accounts-related allegations.The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £44,100.