Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 27/08/96

Richard Newbery, admitted 1979, practising at material times as Ian Newbery & Co, Poole, Dorset, fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £620 costs.

Allegations substantiated he behaved in manner unbefitting a solicitor and that his conduct brought the profession into disrepute. Tribunal told that during a confrontation at Bournemouth railway station, Newbery hit in the face a female former employee who had been making damaging allegations against him. In his submissions Newbery said he had suffered tremendously in financial, professional and personal terms and believed he was the victim of a vitriolic campaign waged by the woman. Tribunal said case was "extraordinary" and it wished to make it clear that a solicitor could never be justified in punching a former employee in the face. However, it accepted that Newbery was a man of integrity and had been goaded into what was a "momentary, single and isolated aberration".

David Benjamin Morris, 53, admitted 1965, practising at material times as DB Morris, London, W1, fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £824 costs.

Allegations substantiated he improperly withdrew client account money. Tribunal told investigation accountant revealed £15,450 client account cash shortage. Morris agreed shortage resulted from improper transfer from trust in respect of costs which were not due. However, Morris said not to have been dishonest but to have acted as result of "muddle and misunderstanding". Money had since been replaced. Tribunal accepted there had been a "genuine mistake".

Geoffrey Roger Lord, admitted 1970, practising as Roger Lord, Saffron Walden, Essex, fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £450 costs. Allegations substantiated: he failed to act with due diligence in affairs of client; failed to reply to letters from client and/or failed to maintain reasonable contact with client; was guilty of unreasonable delay in dealing with client affairs; failed to comply promptly with Complaints Bureau resolution; was guilty of excessive and unreasonable delay in conduct of professional business; failed to honour professional undertaking; and failed to reply to letters from other solicitors and from Complaints Bureau. Matter first before tribunal in September last year when Lord was suspended indefinitely. That order stayed pending appeal. Appeal rehearing, which resulted in latest penalty, ordered by High Court.