Gary Ackinclose
Application 11786-2018
Admitted 2001
Hearing 5-7 February 2019
Reasons 7 March 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. The respondent, without legitimate basis, had sent an email to KS (a business associate of the respondent’s client CH) detailing his personal bank account details and requesting that fees (owed by CH to the firm) be paid directly into that bank account rather than to the firm as they should have been, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. The respondent had acted dishonestly. 

He had subverted the firm’s accounts process by altering an invoice to create an invoice under a reference not known to the firm’s accounts team or reflected in the firm’s records, and had sent the altered invoice to KS/CH in support of a request that fees related to CH’s matter be paid directly into his own personal bank account rather than to the firm, thereby breaching principles 2 and 6. The respondent had acted dishonestly. 

He had denied that he had created the altered invoice when that was incorrect and misleading, thereby breaching principles 2, 6 and 7. The respondent had acted dishonestly. 

He had provided misleading information to his firm by incorrectly and/or disingenuously claiming that he had mistakenly provided KS with his personal bank account details over the telephone, whereas the direct payments of CH’s fees were as a result of an email from the respondent to KS explicitly requesting direct payments, and had thereby breached principles 2 and 6. The respondent had acted dishonestly. 

He had practised as a solicitor at Andrew J Fenny & Co in circumstances in which he had not had that employment approved by the SRA, contrary to conditions on his practising certificate and in breach of principles 2, 6 and 7. 

The motivation for his misconduct was his own financial benefit. He lacked any insight into his wrongdoing. 

The misconduct was at the highest level and the only appropriate sanction was a strike-off. There were no exceptional circumstances that would make such an order unjust in the present case. The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £25,395. 

Jeffrey Allan Jackson
Application 11882-2019
Admitted 1987
Hearing 13 February 2019
Reasons 21 February 2019 

The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £3,750, and further that he should be subject to the conditions that he might not practise as a solicitor on his own account; be a manager or owner of an authorised body; be a compliance officer for legal practice or compliance officer for finance and administration of any authorised body; and that he should immediately inform any prospective employer of the restrictions and the reason for their imposition, with liberty to either party to apply to vary the conditions. 

The respondent had failed to make any provision for the safe storage or disposal of archived files when his firm closed in November 2016, in breach of principles 4, 6, 8 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011. 

He had failed to carry out proper reconciliations in breach of rules 29.12, 29.13 and 6 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011. 

He had failed to keep proper accounting records to show accurately the position with regard to the money held for each client and trust ,in breach of rules 1.2(e), 1.2(f), 9.1, 29.2 and 20.6 of the rules. 

He had used a suspense account without any proper justification, in breach of rule 29.15 of the rules. 

By virtue of the above breaches, he had acted in breach of principles 6, 8 and 10.

He had made or caused a payment of £45,000 from client account resulting in the client ledger being overdrawn by £32,260, in breach of rules 7.1 and 20.6 of the rules, and principles 6 and 10.

The SDT was invited to deal with the allegations against the respondent in accordance with a statement of agreed facts and proposed sanction. 

The SDT noted that the respondent had contacted the applicant in relation to his financial difficulties. He had displayed genuine insight into his misconduct and had rectified the shortage in client account. 

Having determined that the proposed sanction was appropriate and proportionate, the SDT granted the application for matters to be resolved by way of the agreed outcome. The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £3,000. 

Kuldip Singh
Application 11837-2018
Admitted 2000
Hearing 5-6 February 2019
Reasons 18 March 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. 

In his capacity as a manager, compliance officer for legal practice and compliance officer for finance and administration of the respondent’s firm from 2011 until 20 June 2017, the respondent had breached section 41 of the Solicitors Act 1974 by employing or remunerating O, who had been disqualified from acting as a solicitor, in connection with his practice as a solicitor without the written permission of the SRA, in breach of principles 2, 6 and 7 of the SRA Principles 2011. He had acted dishonestly. 

He had used funds held on trust for A in respect of other clients’ matters, in breach of rule 20.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 thereby breaching principles 2, 6 and 10. 

He had caused or allowed a shortfall to arise on client account, in breach of rules 1.2 and 20.6 of the rules and had failed to replace that shortfall promptly on discovery in breach of rule 7, thereby breaching principles 6 and 10. 

He had acted in a situation where there was a client conflict or significant risk thereof by acting for the borrower and lender in three loan transactions, in breach of outcome 3.5 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 and principles 3, 4 and 6. 

He had failed to act in accordance with a client’s instructions, in breach of principles 4 and 5.

He had failed to return money held on client account for a client without proper reason in breach of rule 14.3 of the rules, thereby breaching principles 2, 4 and 6. He had acted dishonestly. 

He had acted in a situation where there was an own interest conflict or a significant risk thereof, in breach of outcome 3.4 and principles 3 and 6. 

He had failed to maintain adequately or at all the firm’s books of account, in breach of rules 29.1 and 29.12 of the 2011 rules and principles 6 and 8.

In his capacity as the COFA at the firm he had failed to ensure compliance with the firm’s regulatory obligations under the rules in breach of rule 8.5 of the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011 and principle 7. 

The respondent’s overall motivation was to keep his practice afloat. 

He had shown no remorse during the investigation and had not engaged with the proceedings. No exceptional circumstances in the case could be found.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £56,686.

Paula Harris
Application 11913-2019
Admitted 2010
Hearing 12 February 2019
Reasons 12 February 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. 

In August 2018, the respondent had been convicted of three counts of fraud by abuse of position and one count of making/supplying articles for use in fraud, in breach of principles 1, 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. 

The parties had invited the SDT to deal with the allegations against the respondent in accordance with a statement of agreed facts and indicated outcome. 

The level of culpability and harm from the respondent’s misconduct were high. The nature of her criminal convictions included dishonesty offences that had been committed within her practice as a solicitor. 

Given the nature and circumstances of her convictions, the only appropriate sanction was to strike the respondent from the roll.

There were no exceptional circumstances in the matter such that striking the respondent from the roll would be a disproportionate sanction.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £1,826. 

Ahmar Hussain
Application 11864-2018 
Hearing 20 February 2019
Reasons 1 March 2019

 The SDT ordered that the applicant’s application for restoration to the roll should be granted, subject to the 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 compliance officer for finance and administration; or undertake any conveyancing work; and that he attend training courses on the SRA Code of Conduct, the SRA Principles and the SRA Accounts Rules within 12 months. 

In August 2018, the applicant applied for his name to be restored to the roll. He had been struck off by the SDT on 21 October 2010 (case number 10453/2010). 

The applicant had been struck off the roll in 2010 for very serious failings in his practice, misleading the respondent and acting recklessly. He was not found to have been dishonest. 

He was an honest and credible witness who demonstrated insight into the causes of his misconduct. The public would consider that he had been taken in by determined and convincing semi-professional fraudsters. He had co-operated fully with the police.  

Financially and professionally, the applicant had lost a very substantial amount as a result of his own failings being exploited. He had worked hard to re-establish himself in approved employment in the legal sector and no complaints had been received.

Knowing the full back history, the SDT considered that public confidence in the legal profession would not be undermined by the applicant returning to the profession as a solicitor.

The applicant was ordered to pay costs of £2,500.

Rodney Whiston-Dew
Application 11878-2018
Admitted 1988
Hearing 28 February 2019
Reasons 12 March 2019 

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. It made no order as to costs. 

By virtue of his conviction on indictment in November 2017 of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and of acting with intent to prejudice or defraud HM Revenue & Customs, the respondent had breached principles 1, 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.

The parties invited the SDT to deal with the allegations against the respondent in accordance with a statement of agreed facts and outcome. 

The respondent had committed a very serious offence of dishonesty, which was reflected in the significant term of imprisonment that he had received, namely a 10-year sentence. He had also been disqualified under section 2 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. 

The sums of money involved were vast and the trial judge had clearly taken the view that the offence was sophisticated and at the upper end of the scale of seriousness. 

The reputation of the profession was inevitably damaged by a solicitor who was convicted of a conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and intending to defraud HMRC. 

Had the matter come before the SDT for a full hearing, the only appropriate sanction would have been that the respondent be struck off. The SDT was satisfied there was nothing in the mitigation that could persuade it that a lesser sanction would be sufficient to protect the public or the reputation of the profession. 

Mohammed Zahid Dar
Application 11850-2018
Admitted 1990
Hearings 26-27 February 2019
Reasons 26 March 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should pay a fine of £20,000. It further ordered that he should be suspended from practice for 12 months, such suspension to be suspended for two years from the date of the order, and that he be subject indefinitely to the following conditions: that he might not accept any conveyancing instructions, nor any instructions relating to trusts, with liberty to either party to apply to vary those conditions. 

The respondent had facilitated a dubious transaction concerning Property One, thereby breaching principles 2, 6 and 8 of the SRA Principles 2011. He had acted recklessly.

He had failed to adhere to the anti-money laundering policy of Dar & Co Solicitors Limited, when undertaking the transfer of Property One, thereby breaching principles 6, 7 and 8 and failing to achieve outcome 7.5 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011. 

The respondent’s culpability was high, as was the risk of harm to the reputation of the legal profession and the potential risk of harm to the public if he were able to continue practice unrestricted.

A fine of £20,000 was the proportionate and appropriate sanction. The risk posed by the respondent to the public and the profession could only be met by the imposition of a suspended suspension order aligned with restriction of practice to militate against recurrence of the risk.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £23,228. 

Zulfiqar Ali
Application 11839-2018
Admitted 2010
Hearings 12-13 February 2019
Reasons 28 March 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. [That order was subject to appeal by the respondent, and remained in force pending the High Court’s decision on the appeal.]

While acting in relation to a property development scheme the respondent had caused and/or permitted client money, including purchaser’s deposit money, to be paid into his office account, in breach of rules 13.1 and 14.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011. 

He had made payments out and facilitated transactions which were dubious and/or bore the hallmarks of fraud when acting on behalf of his client IC in relation to that property development scheme, thereby breaching principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011 and failing to achieve outcome 7.4 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.

He had advised A (an undercover reporter posing as an immigration client) regarding methods for circumventing the UK immigration system, namely by entering into a sham marriage, in breach of principles 1, 2 and 6. He had acted dishonestly.

During a surreptitiously recorded conversation with A he had stated that he could prepare and/or submit paperwork in support of A’s marriage and UK residency, knowing that the marriage would be bogus and arranged for the purpose of circumventing the UK immigration system, in breach of principles 1, 2 and 6. He had acted dishonestly.

The respondent’s conduct had caused harm to the reputation of the profession and had directly affected the purchasers of the properties. 

The misconduct relating to sham marriage was a single episode of brief duration in a previously unblemished career. 

Even if the respondent’s conduct had not been found to have been dishonest, his failings were such that the protection of the public and the reputation of the profession warranted that he be struck off the roll.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £18,940.

Donald Anthony Ramsbottom
Application 11927-2019
Admitted 1988
Hearing 19 March 2019
Reasons 29 March 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll. 

By virtue of his convictions in October 2018 for two offences of sexual assault of a child and one offence of making indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child and being sentenced for the offences on 16 November 2018, the respondent had breached principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.

The SDT was invited to deal with the allegations against the respondent in accordance with the statement of agreed facts and outcome.

The respondent had committed extremely serious criminal offences and the SDT was entirely satisfied that the protection of the public and the reputation of the profession demanded that he be struck off the roll. There were no exceptional circumstances that would make a 1esser sanction appropriate.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £1,120. 

Munir Majid
Application 11829-2018
Admitted 2006
Hearing 9 January 2019
Reasons 12 February 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice for six months from 9 January 2019. 

While in practice as a solicitor at Asons Solicitors Ltd and/or at Coops Law Ltd (the firm) between approximately March and June 2017, the respondent had caused or allowed (i) the transfer of up to around 6,000 client files from Asons to the firm, in circumstances where clients had not provided any or adequate prior authority for such transfers; (ii) the firm’s staff to access confidential client details from Asons’ client database without the prior knowledge or consent of those clients; and (iii) undue pressure to be placed on one or more clients, by asking them to provide authority ‘urgently’, where there was no or no material urgency, in breach of principles 2, 4 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. 

He had failed to ensure that such clients were given sufficient information to enable them to make an informed choice about whether or not to instruct the firm, in breach of principle 4. 

He had caused or allowed funds belonging to Asons’ clients to be transferred into the firm’s client bank account without prior authority in breach of rule 14.2 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and in respect of disbursements, to be transferred into the firm’s office bank account, in breach of rule 19.4 of the rules and of principle 10.

He had caused or allowed an email to be sent to approximately 100 of Asons’ clients, which disclosed the email addresses of all those clients to all of the others; and had therefore breached principle 4 and failed to achieve outcomes 4.5 and 7.5 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.  

He had failed to carry out adequate due diligence before and after accepting the role of lawyer manager and/or head of legal practice at the firm, in breach of principles 6 and 8. 

The matter was dealt with by way of the agreed outcome procedure. 

The SDT was satisfied that members of the public would expect a solicitor undertaking managerial responsibilities for a firm’s compliance with its regulatory obligations to do so exercising reasonable skill and care. The respondent’s actions were a serious departure from the integrity and probity expected of a solicitor.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £17,988.