Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 12/09/95

ROGER TYRONE SINCLAIR, 43, admitted 1976, practised as Sinclairs, Canterbury, Kent, struck off. Allegations substantiated that he failed to maintain properly written books, wrongly withdrew client money, failed to pay client funds into a client account, used funds belonging to the Legal Aid Board for his own purposes and gave false and misleading information to a client. Tribunal was told that as result of Sinclair's activities 270 applications have been made to the Law Society Compensation Fund. Over £496,000 has been paid out, and £47,268 has been recovered with pending claims of £124,514. Tribunal said the investigation accountant's report revealed an "extraordinary and wholly unacceptable state of affairs". The respondent's firm was clearly in financial difficulties and had cash flow problems but unequivocal compliance with Solicitors Accounts Rules was a requirement for all practising solicitors. The tribunal said the way in which Sinclair had handled client money could not be tolerated.

DAVID KEELEY, conveyancing clerk with Meadows & Moran, Romford, Essex, banned from working for any further solicitors without first receiving written consent from the Law Society. Tribunal was told that on 24 November 1993 he was convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court of conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to 18 month's prison. The offence had arisen when he conspired with others regarding mortgage fraud.

JOHN HARTWELL Mc-WALTER SHEPHERD, 52, admitted 1973, practised in partnership as Munros & Shepherds, Liverpool, struck off. Allegations substantiated that he was convicted at Manchester Crown Court in November 1993 of 15 offences including obtaining property by deception and false accounting and was jailed for three years. Tribunal was told that the charges had involved alleged fraud on legal aid fund. Shepherd, in his submissions to the tribunal said that he had protested his innocence throughout and continued to do so. Tribunal said that Shepherd had been convicted and sentenced in serious matters. It said he had acted dishonestly and been sentenced to three year's jail and the reputation of the profession was damaged by an abuse of trust such as that involved in Shepherd's case.