Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 18/10/94

JEREMY CLIVE GRATTON, 46. admitted 1972, practised as JC Gratton, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, suspended for six months from July 5 and ordered to pay u1,008 costs. Allegations substantiated he practised without current practising certificate and failed to deliver accountants reports. His practice was closed down following Law Society resolution to intervene in December last year. Tribunal told Law Society Compensation Fund had paid out u88.12 and claims of u254 pending. Gratton who admitted allegations submitted there should be sufficient funds in former client account to settle compensation fund claims referred to. Tribunal said he had disregarded his obligations as solicitor. He had held practising certificate in past and was clearly well aware of necessity to do so.

ANDREW JAMES TURNER, 33, admitted 1986, practised as salaried partner with Warner Goodman and Streat, Fareham, Hampshire, struck off. Allegations substantiated he had been convicted of dishonesty while solicitor, misappropriated client funds for his own purposes, drew client funds contrary to accounts rules. Tribunal told Law Society investigation of firm's books revealed shortfall in client funds totalling u20,524. They also revealed payment by Turner of total of u61,634 from client funds for his own use, disguised by false entries in books. On March 30, 1994, Turner was jailed for three years after admitting 14 offences of dishonesty and asking for a further 206 offences to be taken into consideration. Tribunal told sentencing judge, Mr Justice McCullough, said he had little doubt offences were motivated by desire to impress others and that money had been spent for selfish purposes.

MARTYN TIMOTHY CREMIN, 37, admitted 1982, practised as salaried partner with Burstows, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, suspended from practice for 12 months from July 5 and ordered to pay u1,375 costs. Allegations substantiated he used client money for his own purposes and drew client money contrary to accounting rules. Tribunal told that in 1990 Cremin's employers instituted controls with view to improving financial performance of firm. On realising he would not be able to meet targets set for him, Cremin enhanced billing figures to improve his apparent performance and transferred money from client account to office account to meet bills. Firm said to have lost nearly u13,000 as result. Tribunal accepted respondent acted as he did to protect his employment, but he had been guilty of manipulating money held on behalf of clients. He had reacted badly to the pressure of having targets imposed on him, but had not yielded to temptation of direct misapplication of client account money for his own benefit. Tribunal recommended if he was granted practising certificate in future, it should be subject to condition he should not be allowed to practise as sole practitioner.