• Application 11460-2015

• Admitted 1980

• Hearing 4-5 October 2016

• Reasons 2 November 2016

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

While a sole practitioner at Mapletoft & Co the respondent: withdrew client money from client account to make personal payments in breach of rule 20.1(a) of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011, and in so doing acted dishonestly; used client money to make personal payments for which he was personally liable in breach of principles 2, 4, 6 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011, and in so doing acted dishonestly; failed to return client money to his clients as soon as there was no longer any proper reason to retain those funds, in breach of rules 14.3 and 14.4 of the 2011 rules, and in so doing acted dishonestly; failed to keep accounting records properly written up to show dealings with client money, in breach of rule 29.1 of the 2011 rules, and in so doing acted dishonestly; failed to remedy the breaches of the 2011 rules detailed above promptly upon discovery, in breach of rule 7.1, and in so doing acted dishonestly; used his client account as a banking facility for clients in breach of rule 14.5; and failed to comply promptly with a written notice from the SRA requesting documents and information and to produce to the SRA records, papers and client matter files necessary to enable the preparation of a report in compliance with the rules, thereby breaching rule 31.1 of the 2011 rules and principle 7 of the SRA Principles 2011, and failing to achieve outcomes 10.8 and 10.9 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.

There was no obvious financial motive for what the respondent had done, as he had access to assets, albeit his financial position was not as he had indicated in his witness statement.

It was an unpleasant aspect of the case that the respondent had involved his daughter in his misconduct; although her behaviour was entirely innocent.

There had been references to the respondent’s ill-health since June 2015. However, there was nothing to show that he was unwell at the time of the improper transactions, or during the SRA investigation.

Nothing exceptional had been suggested as a reason for the respondent’s misconduct, and nothing had been found. As there had been findings of dishonesty the appropriate sanction was therefore to strike him off the roll.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £51,000.