Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)

Gerard John Scott

Application 11958-2019

Admitted 2012

Hearing 14 August 2019

Reasons 27 September 2019

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice for 18 months from 14 August 2019.

While working as a solicitor at Ben Hoare Bell, the respondent had, on 17 March 2017, acted towards A in a manner which was inappropriate and/or unwanted in that, while at/after works drinks, he had put his arm around her shoulder and her waist, touched her bottom on one or more occasions; lifted up her dress on one or more occasions; and put his hand inside her dress and underwear on one or more occasions.

On 18 March 2017, the respondent had acted towards A in a manner which was inappropriate and/or unwanted in that he had sent her a text message stating ‘I would like to f*** you’.

On 17 November 2017, the respondent had acted towards A in a manner which was inappropriate and/or unwanted in that, while at/after works drinks, he had taken her hand; would not let go of it when she asked him to do so, and had touched her knee.

On 18 November 2017, the respondent acted towards A in a manner which was inappropriate and/or unwanted, in that he had sent her a text message stating ‘Want to f*** you why. I want to f*** you’.

By reason thereof, the respondent had breached principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.

On 24 January 2018, he had accepted a police caution for the offence of sending malicious communications under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 by virtue of his behaviour outlined above, and had thereby breached principles 2 and 6.

He was contrite, remorseful, candid and apologetic for his behaviour. He had become disinhibited by taking excessive alcohol, while also being on medication for his prior existing medical conditions.

He had caused A immense harm and distress and any sanction would need to reflect the gravity of conduct as well as the impact it had had on her and on the reputation of the profession.

The respondent’s conduct was so serious that it was necessary to interfere with his ability to practise for a time. That would protect the public, maintain confidence in the profession, and also allow the respondent a period of time to rehabilitate.

The appropriate sanction was a suspension of 18 months.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £7,837.

Bethany Sarah Reay

Application 11994-2019

Admitted 2007

Hearing 5 November 2019

Reasons 25 November 2019

 

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

The respondent had made untrue statements to her client RB which she knew or should have known were apt to mislead him as to the progress of a personal injury claim which she was conducting upon his behalf, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. She had acted dishonestly.

She had made untrue statements to her client AM which she knew or should have known were apt to mislead him as to the progress of a personal injury claim which she was conducting upon his behalf, in breach of principles 2 and 6. She had acted dishonestly.

She had made statements to her opponent in the litigation concerning AM which were untrue and which she knew, or ought to have known, to be untrue, in breach of principles 2 and 6. She had acted dishonestly.

She had made untrue statements to her client DS and N, his litigation friend, which she knew or should have known were apt to mislead them as to the progress of a personal injury claim which she was conducting upon his behalf, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011. She had acted dishonestly.

She had made untrue statements to her client L which she knew or should have known were apt to mislead her as to the progress of a personal injury claim which she was conducting upon his behalf, in breach of principles 2 and 6.  She had acted dishonestly.

She had agreed to discontinue proceedings issued on behalf of L and/or had sought to do so, without her knowledge or consent, in breach of principle 5.

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

The SDT was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the respondent’s admissions had been properly made.

There were no exceptional circumstances such that would justify a lesser sanction than a strike-off. The SDT therefore approved the proposed outcome.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £3,800.

Wilson & Berry

On 3 February 2020, the adjudication panel intervened into the practice of Rupinder Kainth and into the firm Wilson & Berry, of Lily Hill House, Lily Hill Road, Bracknell RG12 2SJ, formerly of Coppid Hall, Warfield Road, Bracknell RG42 2LR.

The grounds of intervention into Kainth’s practice were:

- There was reason to suspect dishonesty on her part in connection with her practice as a solicitor (paragraph

1(1)(a)(i) of schedule 1 to the Solicitors Act 1974);

- She had breached the SRA Principles 2011, the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 and the SRA Professional Indemnity Insurance Rules 2013; and the SRA Principles and the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules (paragraph 1(1)(c) of schedule 1 to the Solicitors Act 1974).

The grounds of intervention into Wilson & Berry were:

- There was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Kainth, as a manager of the firm, in connection with the firm’s business (paragraph 32(1)(d)(i) of schedule 2 to the Administration of Justice Act 1985).

- Kainth, as a manager of the firm, and the firm had failed to comply with the SRA Principles 2011, the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 and the SRA Professional Indemnity Insurance Rules 2013; and the SRA Principles and the SRA Indemnity Insurance Rules which are rules applicable to them

under section 9 of the Administration Act 1985 (paragraph 32(1)(a) of schedule 2 to the Administration of Justice Act 1985).

Karen Thompson of Lester Aldridge LLP, Russell House, Oxford Road, Bournemouth BH8 8EX; DX: 7623 Bournemouth; tel: 01202 786341; email: interventions@la-law.com; has been appointed to act as the Society’s agent.

Kainth’s practising certificate was automatically suspended as a result of the intervention.