Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 02/08/94

SHEILA VALERIE MAISIE TENNANT, solicitors clerk, who worked for Lister Croft, Wakefield, banned from working for any further solicitors without written consent from Law Society and ordered to pay u727 costs. Tribunal told Tennant received a suspended two year jail sentence at Wakefield Crown Court on October 16, 1992, for theft. Sentence imposed after she admitted three thefts from Lister Croft while working for them between May 1 and December 1990. She also admitted six thefts from company called Printout Supplies who she joined after leaving Lister Croft and had asked for 28 other offences to be taken into consideration.

RICHARD HENRY NIMAN, 62, admitted 1956, practised as Hawker Niman, London EC1, struck off and ordered to pay u1,840 costs. Allegations substantiated he used client money for own purposes, failed to put client money into client account, wrongly withdrew client money failed to keep adequate books. Tribunal told Niman admitted using client money for own purposes. Claims of up to u5,000 are expected to be made on Compensation Fund as a result of his activities. Niman told Tribunal he had not intended to abdicate responsibility or use client funds for his own purposes. He said a self employed practice manager and book keeper who he had employed and trusted had not attended to accounts as he should have done. Striking him off Tribunal said Niman had been guilty of gross abdication of responsibility in permitting unadmitted person to have full unsupervised uncontrolled responsibility for compliance with the Solicitors Accounts Rules. It was not open to solicitors to delegate their own absolute liability for those matters to others. His "cavalier approach" to professional obligations was wholly unsatisfactory. He had shown a complete lack of itegrity and broke the trust it was essential members of the public had in the profession.

DAVID MACLEOD STEWART, 47, admitted 1976, practised as DM Stewart and Co, Portsmouth, suspended indefinitely and ordered to pay u770 costs. Allegations substantiated he failed to maintain properly written accounts, wrongly withdrew client money, failed to produce accounts books when required by Law Society investigation accountant. Tribunal told investigation of his affairs revealed minimum cash shortage of u37,920. Thirteen claims pending against Compensation Fund totalling u1,364. Tribunal concerned at extent to which respondent's booking keeping had deteriorated and said although dishonesty not established it was clear client money had been placed in jeopardy. Respondent should not be in practice, particularly as sole practitioner.