Litigation Discliplinary Tribunals 30/05/95

THOMAS WILLIAM MAY, admitted 1962, practised as Marshall Hall & Levy, Tyne and Wear, struck off and ordered to pay £5,280 costs.

Allegations substantiated he permitted client account to be operated by persons not authorised to do so, failed to maintain books correctly, wrongly drew and used client funds for his own purposes and purposes of company controlled by himself and his wife. Tribunal told Law Society investigating accountant discovered cash shortage of £108,911 and sub- vention grant of £118,038 had been paid as result of what had taken place. There were said to have been widespread breaches of use of client's funds for May's own purposes which could only amount to dishonest behaviour. In his submissions to tribunal May said he had suffered "devastating illness" in 1992 which caused lack of cognition and personality changes. Tribunal said May had known that what he was doing was wrong and had embarked on a course which was certain to lead to disaster. Such conduct, while partially explicable in a medical context, still amounted to dishonesty.

RAJENDRA MASHRU, admitted 1979, practised at material times as partner in Richmonds, Wembley, Middlesex, fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £2,750 costs. Allegations substantiated he failed to act towards other solicitors with frankness and good faith, failed to observe terms of undertaking given by him in his practice. Tribunal told complaints centred on property loan which Lloyds Bank claimed it was

induced to make on undertakings from Mashru. Bank complained it was not notified when it became clear completion of a property sale, key to the granting of the loan, would not occur on the scheduled date. Tribunal said it was gratified to learn the undertaking in question was to be discharged to satisfaction of the bank although late in the day and that Mashru acknowledged his responsibility for the conduct complained of. In seeking to do the best for his client he had misguidedly closed his eyes to his obligations to the bank.

JOHN FRANCIS MIDDLEHURST, 45, admitted 1974, practised at material time as salaried partner with AR Drummond & Co, Epsom, Surrey, fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,051 costs. Allegations substantiated he failed to pay money into client account promptly, improperly utilised client money for benefit of his own practice or benefit of other clients. Tribunal told he was dismissed from Drummonds after it was discovered he had handled three matters in which he received cash totalling £980 from clients but had not paid the money into the client account. Middlehurst told tribunal he had not acted dishonestly and no client nor the firm had suffered any loss. He said he had carried a heavy workload and was suffering from difficult domestic circumstances. He said he had been guilty not of dishonesty but perhaps "negligence, muddle and maladministration". Tribunal said that it was unfortunate a solicitor who was not strong in matters of administration was working for a firm which clearly did not ensure the efficient or proper administration of its branch office. It considered the actions of Middlehurst, while not inherently dishonest, were "foolish in the extreme".