Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 28/02/95

DAVID ROBIN JOHN HARBRIDGE, 40, admitted 1979, practised in partnership at Christchurch, Dorset, struck off and ordered to pay u1,050 costs. Tribunal told he pleaded guilty at Bournemouth Crown Court in June last year to five specimen counts of theft and was jailed for 42 months. For 14 years prior to discovery of offences he had been treasurer of Christchurch Hospital League of Friends. An audit of the charity's accounts revealed he had taken u56,832 of the charity's money for his own use and that he had also taken other unspecified sums. At his trial the total was said to have been up to u126,000.

Tribunal said it could not imagine a more reprehensible case than that of a solicitor who admitted that over a period of years he had stolen large sums of money that had been entrusted to him on behalf of a charity.

He had deceived and cheated contributors to the charity and its intended beneficiaries as well as his partners.

MICHAEL WYNTER, 65, admitted 1954, partner in Wynter & Co, Luton, struck off and ordered to pay u4,933 costs.

Allegations substantiated that he wrongly drew and used client money for his own purposes, caused false entries to be made in account books, failed to maintain properly written accounts and permitted an accountant's report which he knew or should have known contained false information to be submitted to the Law Society. Tribunal told he had improperly utilised client cash for benefit of other clients. An investigation accountant reported in 1992 that there was a cash shortage of u205,448. Wynter was said to have admitted 'teeming and lading' and to have done so over a period of 20 years, though he denied taking anything for his own personal benefit.

He was said to have behaved in "a disgracefully dishonest fashion" over a period of many years. Tribunal said his practice of 'teeming and lading' had placed client money at risk and said that his dishonest course of conduct had been "intolerable".

CHARLES JOHN LANGDON PACKWOOD, 39, admitted 1983, practised as Charles Packwood & Co, Chatham, Kent, struck off and ordered to pay u2,205 costs. Allegations substantiated he wrongly drew client money, practised without current practising certificate, failed to keep properly written accounts and failed to deliver accountant's reports in accordance with 1974 Solicitors Act. Tribunal told that inspection of his books had revealed u4,660 shortfall and that this had been covered by payment from compensation fund.

His practice has since been acquired by Messrs James and Newell. Tribunal said that Packwood appeared to have "abdicated his responsibilities as a solicitor" and despite the fact he had not taken steps to ensure that he was properly certificated appeared to have "carried on regardless". His abdication of responsibilities was something that could not be tolerated.