Ex-Durnford Ford adviser in Law Soc proceedings

THE LAW Society is taking proceedings against the former financial controller of defunct law firm Durnford Ford.

Chartered accountant Douglas Stephenson was employed by senior partner Graham Ford while Ford was stealing millions of pounds from relatives of dead clients, using fictitious bill and unauthorised interim payments.

The proceedings, brought under the Solicitors Act 1974, seek to ensure Stephenson is not employed or remunerated by solicitors without the society's leave.

Stephenson was arrested by the police and interviewed by the Serious Fraud Office. No charges were brought against him and he did not appear as a witness.

Ford admitted fraud to-talling £5 million on specimen charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Kingsley Napley applied for leave to appeal against sentence last week.

Former partner William Digby Bew, who was given an 18-month suspended sentence, will not appeal, according to his lawyers Foinette-Quinn, of Bletchley, Buckinghamshire.

Andrew Hopper, the society's investigating solicitor, is seeking reports from Foinette-Quinn and the SFO on information arising from the trial.