Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 01/07/97

Avril Rosemary Munson, 59, admitted 1983, and Jeremy Michael Cooke, 37, admitted 1988, practising at material time as Stevensons, struck off and suspended for five years respectively. Allegations substantiated they acted in a manner that was fraudulent, deceitful and contrary to their positions as solicitors, failed to comply with professional undertakings. Allegation also substantiated against Munson that she obtained loan from clients without ensuring clients were separately represented and against Cooke that he failed to take adequate steps to ensure performance of his instructions did not mislead third parties. Tribunal told Munson and Cooke, while not actively involved in a fraud had "assisted a fraudster postpone the evil day."

Andrew Theaker, 52, admitted 1970, practising at material time as Andrew H Theaker, Shoreham, West Sussex, fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,043. Allegations substantiated he wrongly paid client money into office account and failed to keep accounts properly. Theaker previously before Tribunal in 1995 when he was fined £3,000 for failure to reply to letters from Law Society, Solicitors Complaints Bureau and other solicitors. Tribunal said latest penalty reflected seriousness with which they regarded failure by solicitors to keep their books correctly.

Philip James Houlton, clerk with Lingen & Co, Shrewsbury, at material time, banned from working for any further solicitors without written consent of Law Society. Allegations substantiated he was jailed for five years after conviction at Knutsford Crown Court in July 1990, of six counts of obtaining property by deception, one count of obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception and one count of fraudulent evasion of VAT. Houlton told by sentencing judge that he had shamelessly, unscrupulously and deliberately deceived the Welsh Office, a bank and Customs & Excise by resorting to fraud on a massive scale of nearly £1m.