Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 21/03/95

JONATHAN PAUL MARSHALL, 33, admitted 1984, partner at material time in Godlove Pearlman, Leeds, struck off and ordered to pay u4,224 costs. Allegations substantiated that he dishonestly misappropriated client money, breached accounting rules by withdrawing client money for purposes not permitted, failed to pay money received on behalf of client into client account and breached duty of good faith to his partners. Tribunal told Marshall used client money to pay his own private expenses. Individual sums had ranged from u16 to u693. September 1993 report by Law Society Investigation Accountant revealed 112 incidences of defalcation affecting 96 clients and culminating in a total shortage on client bank account of u25,556. Tribunal said there was clear dishonesty, Marshall had known what he was doing and had expressed apprehension at being caught. Such behaviour could not be tolerated. Although the money had been repaid and no client had suffered actual loss, Marshall's actions had placed clients in jeopardy of losing their money and he had betrayed the trust placed in him by his partners.

GORDON RICHARDSON, admitted 1975, practised at material times as Richardson & Co, Castleford, West Yorkshire, fined u3,000 and ordered to pay u4,746 costs. Allegations substantiated he drew money from client account in breach of accounting rules, acted improperly in conflict of interest situation, failed to maintain properly written books. Tribunal told that among other things Richardson continued to act for client who had declined to take independent advice after being advised of conflict of interest situation. Tribunal said it was concerned to have been told that respondent, having been told his books were found to be wanting following inspection, had undergone further inspection 12 months later revealing more problems. It said this sort of muddle could not be condoned.

GORDON GEORGE RITCHIE, clerk with Messrs Lovegrove & Co, Milton Keynes, banned from working for any further solicitors without consent of Law Society and ordered to pay u770 costs. Tribunal was told Ritchie had been responsible under supervision of partner for conduct of professional business of clients. His duties primarily included matrimonial cases. Tribunal told that on 14 July 1993 at Northampton Crown Court, he was ordered to do 160 hours community service and to pay u1,158 compensation to his former employers after admitting two counts of falsely pretending to act under authority of court and one count of theft. Trial judge said he did not consider a custodial sentence appropriate and that Ritchie had been hopelessly out of his depth in a job with which he could not cope. He had acted incredibly stupidly.