Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 06/08/96

Basil Pearson Mellon, 70, admitted 1951, practised in partnership as Basil P Mellon & Co, Gateshead and Newcastle, struck off and ordered to pay £4,949 costs. Allegations substantiated he used client funds for his own purposes and had been jailed for offences of dishonesty. Tribunal told investigation accountant's report revealed cash shortage on Mellon's client account of £117,690. Mellon later convicted by Teeside Crown Court on five counts of theft and sentenced to 30 months prison on each. Tribunal said it was a tragic case of a solicitor who was not a young man and who had hitherto enjoyed a long and unblemished career in the law, behaving in an extraordinary and seriously dishonest way.

Andrew Atkin, 42, admitted 1981, practising at material time in partnership with Ellis Green, Sheffield, struck off and ordered to pay £440 costs. Allegations substantiated he had been convicted of offence of dishonesty while practising as solicitor. Tribunal told Atkin pleaded guilty at Sheffield Crown Court in June 1995 to 14 offences of theft and was sentenced to a total of 21 months prison. Prosecution had accepted at Atkin's trial that the money had not been taken to improve or enhance his lifestyle but to keep professionally incurred debts at bay. Atkin previously before the tribunal in December 1993 when he was reprimanded. Tribunal said it was clear Atkin's mental health was not good at time he had committed offences.

Nicholas Edmund Michael Hatcher, 42, admitted 1981, practising at material time as Hatcher & Co, Reading, struck off. Allegations substantiated he failed to keep clients properly informed, failed to provide adequately for services to his clients on closure of his offices, failed to deliver or delivered late accountants reports, failed to keep properly written accounts, wrongly drew and used client funds, failed to produce books of accounts when required to do so, behaved in fashion likely to compromise or impair reputation of profession, acted towards Leeds Permanent Build- ing Society in manner contrary to position as solicitor, was convicted of offence of dishonesty in course of his dealings with building society. Tribunal noted Hatcher's claims he had been under extreme pressure and had suffered nervous breakdown but it could not ignore offence of dishonesty. Crown Court at Reading convicted him on his own admission in February this year of offence of dishonestly obtaining £80,856 from Leeds Permanent by deception using false representations.