Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 22/07/97

Howard Frank Hatton, 45, admitted 1975, practising at material time as partner in Hatton Scates & Horton, Manchester, struck off and ordered to pay £4,140 costs. Allegations substantiated he dishonestly or improperly used client money for his own benefit, mishandled client money, caused false and improper entries to be made in his firm's accounts books and acted in breach of good faith to his partners. Tribunal told the matter was to be regarded as one of the "utmost seriousness". Tribunal said while it recognised Hatton was an expert in his field and had served a number of deserving and disadvantaged clients well, it could not avoid the fact that he had used client funds for his own purposes and had attempted to disguise the fact.

Theresa Violet Kane, conveyancing manager with Mason & Co, Chelmsford, from September 1989 to April 1996, banned from working for any further solicitors without written consent from Law Society and ordered to pay £2,109 costs. Allegations substantiated she made or caused to be made false and misleading entries in her employer's accounts books, used client money for her own purposes and failed to divulge information to clients. Tribunal told Kane had made profit by acting in highly suspicious conveyancing transactions. There was said to have been a cash shortage of £67,304 caused by her misuse of funds received on behalf of five clients.

David Graham Garner, 44, admitted 1980, practising at material time as Arkwrights, Saffron Walden, Essex, struck off and ordered to pay £2,820 costs. Allegations substantiated he was sentenced to two years prison after his conviction at Southwark Crown Court in December 1993 of conspiracy to obtain property by deception. Tribunal told offence had involved mortgage fraud for which Garner had received fees of £7,000 to £8,000.

Jean Mary Noble, secretary and assistant to partner at Abson Hall, Stockport, Cheshire, at material time, banned from working for any further solicitors without written consent from Law Society and ordered to pay £770 costs. Allegations substantiated she received a 12-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty at Manchester Crown Court in September 1995 to offences of dishonesty. Tribunal told court proceedings followed inspection of Abson Hall's books by Law Society investigation accountant. Inspection revealed cash shortage of £14,513.