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

Keith Freer

  • Application 11468-2016
  • Admitted 1984
  • Hearing 8 March 2017
  • Reasons 27 March 2017

Between 6 June 2007 and 28 July 2011, the respondent had misappropriated £87,892.13 from the client account of Widdows Mason, a firm in which he was a partner, in breach of rules 1.02 and 1.06 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007 and rule 22(1) of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998. In so doing, he had acted dishonestly.

He had made a loan from the firm’s office account to his client MGC Ltd, in breach of rules 1.03 and 3.01 of the code.

On 5 November 2009, he had joined with his client JY in an agreement to purchase land, in further breach of rule 3.01 of the code.

By acting for both borrower (JY) and lenders (GJ and SJ) in relation to a loan agreement also made on 5 November 2009, he had further breached rule 3.01 of the code.

By acting for JY, in relation to that loan agreement, he had further breached rules 1.02, 1.06 and 3.01 of the code.

By acting both for JY and for GJ and SJ in or about November 2009 on the grant of a legal charge securing the liabilities and obligations of JY under that loan agreement, he had breached rule 3.16(2)(b) of the code.

On or about 28 January 2013, he had caused a bill of costs to be raised, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.

Multiple findings of a lack of integrity had been made against the respondent, and he had been dishonest. There were no exceptional circumstances in the case.

The only appropriate and proportionate sanction, in order to protect the public and maintain public confidence in the integrity of the profession and the provision of legal services, was to order that the respondent be struck off the roll.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £19,500.