Roland Ivor Cassam and Peter Rhidian Lewis

  • Application 11580-2016
  • Hearing 17, 18 May 2017
  • Reasons 1 June 2017

The SDT ordered that the first respondent (admitted 1977) should be struck off the roll; and that the second respondent (admitted 2000) should pay a fine of £3,000.

While in practice as principals at Temple Law from around February 2014 to March 2015, the respondents had breached rules 1.2(c), 1.2(e), 1.2(f), 7.1, 20.1, 29.1, 29.9 and 29.12 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011; and principles 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 of the SRA Principles 2011.

Between 18 February and 5 July 2015 they had further breached principles 4, 5, 6 and 10.

The first respondent alone had failed to achieve outcomes 10.3 and 11.2 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 and had breached principles 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10, and had acted dishonestly.

The second respondent alone had breached rules 8.5(c) and 8.5(e) of the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011, had failed to achieve outcome 10.3 of the code and had breached principle 7.

The harm caused by the first respondent’s misconduct was significant. Aggravating factors included, most significantly, the first respondent’s dishonesty. His misconduct had been deliberate, calculated and repeated.

There were few mitigating factors. The first respondent had made admissions to the many breaches of the Accounts Rules and regulatory obligations, but had not admitted his dishonesty. He had not shown genuine insight.

There were no exceptional circumstances in the case, in particular nothing with regard to the first respondent’s dishonesty, so the appropriate sanction was to strike his name from the roll.

While the ultimate losses to clients had been large, the second respondent’s misconduct had not been so serious as to justify removing him, temporarily or permanently, from practice. A financial penalty would be appropriate in the circumstances, and the appropriate sum, taking into account the aggravating and mitigating factors, was £7,600.

However, the second respondent was making efforts to pay some of the firm’s liabilities. It would therefore be in the public interest, and in the interests of the reputation of the profession, to allow the second respondent to continue to discharge those liabilities rather than impose a large additional liability on him. While it was still appropriate that he should pay a fine, the amount actually to be paid would be remitted to £3,000.

The first respondent was ordered to pay costs of £15,575; the second respondent was ordered to pay costs of £3,000.