- Application 11563-2016
- Admitted 1997
- Hearing 26 June 2017
- Reasons 2 August 2017
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.
The respondent had declared to HMRC that he had bought two properties for prices lower than those which he had paid, resulting in his paying too little in stamp duty land tax and being subjected to a penalty by HMRC, in breach of principles 2 and 6 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2011. In so doing, he had acted dishonestly.
He had not told the SRA of the position with HMRC and that it had imposed a penalty on him, in breach of principle 7.
He had failed to comply with notices under section 44B of the Solicitors Act 1974, in breach of principle 7.
The matters were aggravated by the respondent’s dishonesty. In addition, the misconduct had been deliberate, calculated and repeated, and had continued over a period of time. There was active concealment of wrongdoing and the respondent clearly knew that he was in material breach of his obligations.
In mitigation, he had eventually paid the stamp duty, penalties and interest. However, that mitigating factor was diluted by the fact that he had only paid the penalties under protest and after much argument with HMRC. He had demonstrated no insight and had not engaged with the proceedings.
The only appropriate sanction in all the circumstances, having regard to the need to protect the public and the reputation of the profession, was a strike-off.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £15,000.