Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 19/09/95

JOHN FRANKLIN RICE, admitted 1978, practised in partnership with Breeze & Wyles Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, struck off and ordered to pay £4,524 costs. Allegations substantiated he wrongly drew and used client funds for purposes of other clients and himself and misappropriated client funds. Tribunal told investigation accountant's report of December 1992 revealed serious misuse of client funds to extent of £422,500. The money had since been replaced by his partners and the Solicitors' Indemnity Fund. Tribunal said Rice appeared to have used money held in his firm's client account for unrelated and improper purposes. It had no doubt he had acted dishonestly and false entries had been made into client ledger accounts. It said such wide scale abuse of large sums of client money put those clients at risk.

JOHN ANDREW BLAKE, 33, admitted 1988, practised at material times in partnership with Cannon Silver Quastel, London W1, struck off and ordered to pay £5,251 costs. Allegations substantiated he wrongly used client money for his own purposes, failed to act in accordance with client instructions, failed to comply with professional undertaking, misused money held by him as a stakeholder, failed to account to a client for money received by him on behalf of client and abused process of court. Tribunal told allegations involved a total shortfall of £390,404. Blake said to have adopted course of total dishonesty which was confirmed by his partners who had rectified cash shortage. Tribunal said he had adopted a wholly dishonest course of conduct and the damage he had done to the profession was irreparable.

GRAHAM GILL, 46, admitted 1974, practised in partnership with Buckle Mellows, of Whittlesey, Peterborough, struck off, and ordered to pay £1,109 costs. Allegations substantiated he wrongly drew and used client money for his own purposes, he wrongly used

controlled trust funds for his own purposes, misappropriated client and controlled trust funds and was convicted of offences of dishonesty in course of his practice as solicitor. Tribunal told Gill pleaded guilty at Cambridge Crown Court to 22 counts of theft and was sentenced to 21 months' prison. Tribunal said his behaviour was wholly unacceptable and he had abused position of trust.