stephen curtis 'If you find me dead, it won't be an accident': How Russian oligarchs' favourite English lawyer met his horrifying death It is 6.56pm on March 3, 2004. A brand new, six-seater, £1.5million Agusta A109E helicopter lands under an overcast sky at Battersea heliport in South London. Waiting impatiently and clutching his two mobile phones is a broad-shouldered lawyer named Stephen Curtis.

The 45-year-old climbs aboard and manoeuvres his bulky frame into a rear seat. At 6.59pm the helicopter lifts off, bound for Dorset. Flying conditions are reasonable with visibility of four miles. The lawyer turns off his phones and sits back. After a stressful day fielding a string of calls at his £4million penthouse apartment in Battersea, he is looking forward to a relaxing evening at Pennsylvania Castle, his magnificent retreat on the island of Portland.

By the time the helicopter approaches Bournemouth airport, it is raining lightly and the runway is obscured by cloud. The pilot, Captain Max Radford, who regularly flies Curtis to and from London, radios air traffic control for permission to land. 'Echo Romeo,' replies Kirsty Holtan, the air traffic controller. 'Just check that you are visual with the field.' 'Er, negative. Not this time.' Holtan increases the runway lighting to maximum intensity. This has the required effect and a mile from the airport the pilot radios: 'Just becoming visual this time.'

'Do you require radar?' asks Holtan. 'Yes, yes,' replies Radford, his voice now strained; he repeats the word 11 times in quick succession. Suddenly, the helicopter descends sharply to the left. It then swings around almost out of control. Within seconds it has fallen 400ft. 'Is everything OK?' asks Holtan. 'Negative, negative,' replies Radford. The helicopter is less than a mile east of the threshold of Runway 26 when the height readout is lost on the radar. For the next 56 seconds, the pilot confirms he has power but then suddenly, frantically, radios: 'We have a problem, we have a problem.' As the chopper loses power, at 7.41pm Radford shouts down the open mike: 'OK, I need a climb, I need a climb.'

Radford can be heard struggling to turn out of a dive but he has lost control. 'No! No!' he shouts. The helicopter nose-dives into a field at high speed and explodes on impact, sending a fireball 30ft into the air. Curtis and Radford die instantly. The news of Curtis's dramatic death was not only deeply traumatic to his wife and young daughter, it also sent shockwaves through the shadowy world of Russian oligarchs, the Kremlin and those working in the murky offshore banking world where billions of pounds are regularly moved and hidden across continents.

But alarm bells were also ringing in the offices of Britain's intelligence and law enforcement agencies - because Stephen Curtis was no ordinary lawyer. Blessed with remarkable intellect and a prodigious memory, Stephen Langford Curtis was born in Sunderland on August 7, 1958, the son of an accountant.

Graduating with a law degree from Aberystwyth University, Curtis's career took off in the early Eighties when he was a tax solicitor at City law firm Fox and Gibbons. In 1990 he set up his own firm, Curtis & Co, specialising in commercial and property transactions.

  • Sabotage 'not a factor' in crash (then in 2005)
    andrew nulty Nulty gets let off by his masonic buddies at the Crown Prosecution service. This case was originally in 2006 but since then Nulty has been struck of for fraud. The links below lead to the latest on this scumbag ex-lawyer.

    Millionaire solicitor is cleared in assault case

    A MAN dubbed Britain's richest solicitor has been cleared of assaulting a St Helens police officer.

    Andrew Nulty, who earned £13million last year, faced charges of an assault against PC Ian Harris after an alleged attack on May 1, on High Street, Newton-le-Willows. The 39-year-old millionaire, a partner of Warrington based law firm, Avalon solicitors, was accused of the offence along with his brother Martin Nulty. The case, which was due to appear at St Helens Magistrates last Thursday (October 26), was dismissed due to lack of evidence.

    A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: "We keep all cases under a constant review and after receiving additional evidence it was clear that there were substantial problems with both identification and the consistency of the evidence. "Taking this into account we have decided that there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction." Mr Nulty, of Ivy Farm Gardens, Culcheth, and his brother, of Newton Road, Lowton, were arrested and charged with the offence in June and remanded on unconditional bail until the hearing, which was due to be heard this month.

    Mr Nulty still faces an investigation by the Law Society over claims compensation paid to sick miners was mishandled. His company, Avalon Solicitors has made multi-million pound profits by settling damages on behalf of thousands of miners with respiratory disease. Mr Nulty and his partner at Avalon Solicitors, Anthony Chorlton now face 12 alleged offences of professional misconduct. They both deny any wrong-doing.

    He is set to appear before a disciplinary tribunal accused of several breaches of solicitors' practice and accounting rules. There is no date yet set for the tribunal hearing. Mr Nulty was yesterday (Tuesday) unavailable for comment.

  • Solicitor Andrew Nulty who made millions from miners' compensation claims is struck off
  • Coal miners' solicitor struck off
  • How crooked lawyers get away with MURDER
    Douglas Haggarty Scotlands evil legal system with perverts like this heading their masonic mafia scams.

    This is why there is so much enthusiasm by the legal and political mafia to promote gay agendas to allow evil scumbags like Haggarty to abuse vulnerable young boys. The GAY mafia alongside the legal,political and masonic mafia are all part of a much bigger EVIL picture. One example was what was going on in Jersey were care homes were churning out the vulnerable kids to satisfy the needs of scum like Haggarty.

    So many scots are blinded they cannot see the extreme evil in our midst, that a gay agenda includes destroying heterosexual families . Haggarty was in a perfect place to provide the funds(legal aid) to destroy heterosexual fathers leaving ever more children potentially open to being removed into the child care system were scum like Haggarty can then prey on the kids abandoned when they are failed by that system . What is scary is that the agenda is becoming clearer by the day and MUCH WORSE than we ever imagined.

    The Haggarty article may just start to educate the sheeple that we have struggled to convince just what evil bastards have taken over the control of Scotland, but to be truthful these people have NEVER gone away.We can only but be strengthened by news like Haggarty getting exposed FINALLY in the mainstream media, as they will ultimately create their own downfall.We remain eternally patient to see these scum rising to the surface from their own despicable perversions. We have seen these EVIL bastards get OFF on inflicting pain on the unsuspecting public. Exactly how Scottish judges operate who are a twisted bunch of bastards and Haggarty proves there are no depths they will not go to satisfy their creepy and perverted needs.

    Legal aid chief arrested with rent boy in shopping centre toilet

    A LEGAL Aid boss has been arrested in a public toilet with a rent boy. Douglas Haggarty, 57, was arrested in a shopping mall after being found with the teenage prostitute. He is the head of legal services at the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) - where his duties include lecturing lawyers on their public conduct.

    Haggarty was arrested in British Home Stores in the St Enoch Centre, Glasgow. Security guards alerted police after the known rent boy was seen following Haggarty into the shop's toilets.

    Both men were arrested and Haggarty was charged with soliciting in a public place. The procurator fiscal started summary proceedings against Haggarty.
    But his lawyer Paul McBride QC - who sits as a member on the Scottish Legal Aid Board - asked the Crown Office to drop the charges, claiming there was not enough evidence to convict. The procurator fiscal has decided to scrap court proceedings and deal with the case by a direct measure. These are powers available to prosecutors to deal with cases quickly. They include issuing a fine, compensation order and written warning about future conduct. The powers available to procurators fiscal were extended last year. The rent boy also had court proceedings against him dropped and was issued with a direct measure.

    Haggarty, who lives in the Merchant City area of Glasgow, started work as a solicitor in 1975. He helped Lord Bonomy compile his 2002 report on improving the practices and procedure of the High Court.

    Haggarty submitted a paper to a Scottish Parliament finance committee on criminal procedure in 2003 and has been a member of other High Court review teams. The legal aid chief, who declined to comment, has been off work sick since the incident in January.

    A slab spokesman said: "The Board is aware of the case and that it has not been prosecuted. It's not appropriate for us to comment further." Haggarty isn't the first SLAB boss to be arrested and dogged by controversy. Dr Richard Scott, former head of SLAB, was twice arrested over incidents with his wife.

    Arrest In January 1997 he was charged with three assaults but only convicted of breach of the peace and disorderly behaviour. Six months later Scott was arrested again when police were called to his home but the Crown Office decided not to bring criminal charges. Scott stood down as head of SLAB in 1999.

  • Law chief held with rent boy (Scanned newspaper clip)
    DOUGLAS MILL For all of us that have been involved in exposing this evil little man who was Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland for far to long and has caused MISERY for anyone who DARES raise a complaint against a corrupt lawyer, this will stick in the throat. Instead of him being jailed he is allowed to RESIGN (kicked out) and open a law consultancy and become part of the education system at Glasgow University. No doubt teaching the next generation of lawyers how to continue in his crooked ways.

    Exclusive: Mill takes on Glasgow University development role

    Former Chief Executive of the Law Society Douglas Mill has been appointed as the Director of Professional Legal Practice at Glasgow University. The role has been newly created with Mill, who has moved into business consultancy after 11 years at the helm of the Law Society, as its first incumbent. Part of his brief will be to develop a full "cradle to grave" full service law Faculty at the university. “It is a great personal opportunity for me. I have always been very involved in Legal education and I really do enjoy contact with the students," Mill told the Firm. "I had no idea of Glasgow's plans. They see the University as getting better, and with the 300th anniversary of the University coming up in 2013, this is an excellent target to aim for. Glasgow has always been unimpeachably good as a legal university, but it has been ten years since they have been involved in diploma training. "We are hoping that the Law Society AGM in May sets out a new type of diploma. Glasgow has the oportunity to develop the new srtyle of diploma from day 1, to link into lifetime learning for solicitors in Scotland."

    Mill steps into the new role on 1 March, and will continue to operate Douglas Mill Consultancy in parallel to the new post. "The University have positively encouraged me to keep the consultancy work going," Mill said. "They want me to keep my coal face involvement with the profession."

    crooked lawyer A DISABLED 80-year-old and her OAP daughter have been left homeless and £90,000 out of pocket after a property sale went wrong. Inge Hopkinson and Mary Smith, 62, were turfed on to the street in the dark by sheriff officers in one of the most shocking cases I've come across. The pair blame their lawyer Edward Acton - who unknown to them did not have a practising certificate - and the buyer Alexander "Zander" Currie, a debt and loan adviser.
    After her house was repossessed by the Kensington mortgage firm, Mary called me in. She said: "We were thrown out into the night with nothing but the clothes on our backs." The Sunday Mail captured the shocking moment when they were forced to leave their house as a workman changed the locks. Mary's problems began after she split from husband John and appointed Acton to deal with the £340,000 sale of Burngrains Farm in Alvah, near Banff. But Acton was already in hot water with the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal. He was fined £850 in July 2006 for conflict of interest and delaying the purchase of a property.

    In May 2007 he was fined £2000 for failing to reply to a solicitor or the Law Society in relation to a title defect involving two properties. In April last year he was fined £3000 for not replying to letters from his client or the Law Society after being appointed to deal with an estate and a house sale. Currie offered Mary the full £340,000 asking price but said he only had £247,000 and would get a loan on the property to pay her the rest once it was officially his. Mary agreed to the sale.

    She said: "Acton transferred the title to the house before any IOU was drawn up. He told me everything would be sorted within three weeks." But Currie did not come up with the balance. Mary said: "He had the cheek to suggest I owed him rent and tried to sell the place from under us."

    Currie then defaulted on his mortgage, resulting in Mary and Inge being evicted from their home over his debt. When I collared Acton, he admitted: "I ceased to be a solicitor two or three years ago." He blamed Mary for her own misfortune and said: "The buyer persuaded her to allow him to pay so much and said, 'If you can transfer the title to me, I can get my first loan in and everything will be OK'. "The very least we could do was to get him to sign an undertaking in regard to payment of the balance. She was a very trusting person but I think she probably feels different about it now."

    When I tracked Currie down, he said: "I just wasn't able to conclude the deal because money wasn't available to me. It's been impossible to get bridging loans. "I told the Smiths it would take three to six months to complete the transaction." Mary has taken her case against Acton to the Law Society of Scotland who told me: "It is a breach of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 for someone to hold themselves out as a solicitor when they are not." Sunday Mail lawyer David McKie said: "No solicitor worth his salt would conclude missives and transfer title on a property without full payment of the asking price."

    lawbook The law’s an ass: Mr Kessell says his solicitor ruined him

    THE claim that family lawyers are overpaid (Letters) is only half the problem — it’s generally almost universally accepted that most lawyers, especially barristers, are grossly overpaid. The simple fact is that the legal profession is virtually unregulated. This is true of any profession that professes to regulate itself, but the legal establishment is in the best position in that it helps to make the laws it dispenses and then regulates its own members. Along with thousands of similar victims, I was ruined by an incompetent solicitor, and although I took my suit through the official solicitors’ complaints procedure, Crown Court and subsequently to appeal, I finally lost my case, along with everything I owned.

    The legal profession seems to admit blame only in cases (and there are many of these) where the lawyers have been involved in some act of criminality. Judged by a panel of their peers, the guilty are swiftly struck off and abandoned to the criminal courts, where they can be conveniently described as ‘former’ solicitors before being given prison sentences. Their victims are compensated in full for any financial loss — but there is no such justice if a lawyer is simply incompetent. The profession abounds with thousands of useless lawyers who are able to continue to cause havoc, knowing they can rarely be exposed. The judge in my case found my lawyer guilty of ‘specific and cumulative breaches of his retainer’, but added that these breaches ‘hadn’t amounted to negligence’.

    I lost my business and house. Successive governments have confronted other professions which present easier targets. Teachers have been subjected to much legislation and doctors have had their terms of service changed. But almost half of all the members of the House of Commons, and a quarter of the Lords, are former lawyers or are still practising. Lawyers make brilliant politicians because their legal training has schooled them in dealing in factual inexactitudes. These people aren’t likely to agree to any move to regulate the legal profession — though such a move is long overdue.

    MARK KESSELL, address supplied.

    Published in the Daily Mail 20 May 2008
    Christopher Lumsden A wealthy lawyer who killed his wife after she had an affair is set to inherit nearly £1million from her will after being freed from jail. Christopher Lumsden, 54, was said to have "snapped" after his wife Alison, 53, announced she was leaving him for a family friend.

    He attacked her at their £1.4million mansion, slashing her on the face and neck with a knife so badly a pathologist could not count the number of wounds she had suffered. Lumsden, a partner at the international law firm Pinsent Masons, was cleared of murder but jailed for five years for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

    The jury heard that the father-of-two was suffering from a "depressive condition" at the time of the attack after being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. He was released on licence last September after serving around 18 months of his sentence and is now in line to receive £1million from her will, made five years before her death. By law, a person convicted of manslaughter cannot inherit money from his victim.

    But the courts can make an exception if the killer suffered from a mental disorder at the time of the crime. Mrs Lumsden's relatives are said to be "devastated" by his apparently lenient punishment but were too upset to comment. Campaigners at Support After Murder and Manslaughter, a charity for relatives of those who have been killed, condemned the inheritance. Rose Dixon, the group's national development officer, said: "It is absolutely ridiculous that someone who has killed their wife, partner or lover is able to benefit from their will.

    "We see many, many families who are devastated by this issue every year and find it completely unjust. "It is astonishing that someone who commits a crime like this can go on to benefit. "We are lobbying the Home Office for a change in legislation because it is simply unfair."

    Lumsden led a seemingly happy life amid the dinner parties, tennis clubs and bridge evenings of the Cheshire set in the exclusive suburb of Bowdon, near Altrincham. But his wife of 24 years, a former Sotheby's auctioneer, was having an affair with married businessman Roger Flint, 58. In March 2005, she told her husband and asked for a divorce.

    But, after spending several days putting his affairs in order, he attacked her when she returned home after spending the evening with her lover. Despite the horrific attack, his wife's family stuck by him for the sake of their children, Thomas 22, and Kate, 20. It later emerged that Mrs Lumsden, 53, left her husband a £950,000 legacy as part of her estate which also included the family's home. The mansion was sold last November to Warrington-based Greenlink Estates for £1.4million.

    Lumsden began a legal battle last year to get the money from the will and sale of the house. The former solicitor, who was banned from practising law for life, will remain on licence until March 2010. He can be instantly recalled to prison if he commits any other offence. Manchester-based solicitors Lomax Geddes and Co, which represents the family, refused to comment.

  • Lawyer who killed wife may inherit £2m
    scammed A solicitor who stole more than £1million from a paraplegic Croydon client has been jailed for 10 years today.Manchester Crown Court heard Thomas McGoldrick had lived a life of "extravagance" on funds stolen from Keith Anderson.

    The 59-year-old Cheshire solicitor was convicted of 59 counts of fraud in February.His client, a Jamaican van driver, was paralysed from the chest down after a road crash in November 1996. He was awarded £1.8million after Mr McGoldrick's firm, which had a practice in Croydon, won a claim for damages following the accident.

    But the court heard McGoldrick took about £1.2million of the money after forging a letter purporting to be from Mr Anderson which said his client wanted him to have half the money.The solicitor splashed the stolen cash on a new kitchen, a children's climbing frame, and private school fees.During sentencing Roger Thomas QC said McGoldrick had shown no remorse for his crime by choosing to contest the case.

    "You are guilty of serious offending over a long period of time with the very worst breach of trust you can imagine from a professional man," the judge remarked.

    A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: "McGoldrick abused his position as a solicitor to embezzle funds belonging to the clients of his firm and using the funds for his own gain. "The bulk of the award was not paid to the victim and McGoldrick did not account for the total funds received on behalf of his client.

    "Instead he drew funds from the client account and utilised them for his own purpose "The CPS is pleased that McGoldrick has finally been punished for his actions."

  • Solicitor guilty of £1.2m fraud
    kennedy forster Disgraced former lawyer Kennedy Forster was jailed for over 6 years on 34 charges of dishonesty. He had systematically stolen from charities,churches and elderly and dying clients since 1993.

    Now he has won, through a court battle, the right to have a pension from his former employer.

    MOHAMMED KUTUB UDDIN Corruption right at the heart of Britain's legal system—a string of unscrupulous lawyers ready to aid terrorists in return for cash. One bent solicitor, a regular at the High Court and a member of prestigious Lincoln's Inn, even supplied a FAKE PASSPORT to an investigator he believed to be a fugitive Islamic terror boss.

    This vital document would allow its holder to pass in and out of the country unchallenged. Crooked advocate MOHAMMED KUTUB UDDIN handed the bogus ID to our undercover man in an east London Burger King on the day Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber in Pakistan.

    Incredibly traitor Uddin then suggested we join together in a scam to DEFRAUD High Street banks out of £30,000 a time to fund yet more terrorist atrocities. He is one of FIVE dodgy Muslim solicitors we unearthed in a three-month investigation into treachery hiding deep inside the UK's legal establishment. We found Uddin working among a group of unsuspecting and honest lawyers at the Syed Shaheen firm in London's East End. We called there seeking immigration advice. But after a consultation with one innocent solicitor, our investigator was followed out of the building by Uddin. He approached our man in the street and said: "Brother, I understand your problem. You are completely illegal in this country but I can help you. If you have money to pay I can arrange everything for you. I have helped lots of brothers."

    kennedy forster Question: Why was crooked lawyer Kennedy Forster, who embezzled more than £½m from his clients, let out of jail? Answer: To sort out his finances!

    Fraudster Kennedy Forster’s release from Barlinnie has been slammed as ‘crackers.’ Incredibly, the crooked lawyer has been freed on bail in order to ‘sort out his finances,’ the Gazette can reveal. But news of Forster’s release, pending sentencing, has been greeted with fury from those he embezzled more than £½ million from. The move means that Forster, who stole from clients, charities and churches will now spend Christmas in his luxury mansion in Stranraer rather than the spartan cell in Glasgow’s tough Barlinnie jail. Forster’s crimes were considered so bad, that the original trial judge Lord Emslie refused the former Wigtownshire solicitor bail ordering that he should be kept behind bars until he’s sentenced in the New Year due to the ‘gravity’ of the charges. A Crown Office spokesman said this week: “The court heard he was attempting to release some assets to pay off other creditors and it would be easier to do so if he was at home than in prison.”

    But former clients of Forster described the decision to release him as ‘crackers.’ “His release makes a mockery of of the justice system,” stormed David Hill of Stranraer who lost £70,000 at the hands of Forster. Beatrice McNeill, who had been pursuing Forster for years after he embezzled £9,617 from her parents’ estates when they were being wound up, spoke to the Gazette of her anger. “I was furious when I heard. He obviously knows how to work the system,” she said.

    And, Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson described Forster’s release as ‘highly unusual.’ Forster, 54, who stole almost £670,000 from clients, admitted 34 charges of embezzlement at the High Court in Glasgow two weeks ago and was refused bail at the time, given what Lord Emslie called ‘the number, nature and gravity of the charges.’ But he successfully appealed at the Supreme Court in Edinburgh last week, against the decision to detain him in Barlinnie until he is sentenced.

    He did not attend the hearing when his release on bail was approved on the grounds that he had co-operated at all stages of his trial. Another victim blasted: “He’s a thief and a common criminal. He caused so much damage, apart from the monetary crime. He has made a mockery of trust and has caused a lot of hurt to families.” Alex Fergusson MSP said of Forster’s bail: “I find this highly unusual procedure. He has completely betrayed one of the most important professional trusts there can be: that which exists between solicitor and client.

    “If it is the case, as has been suggested, that he has been let out to release funds that otherwise wouldn’t have been released, I find that hard to accept. “The release must be for the shortest possible time, and people must indeed be given due recompense.”

    Forster, a former honorary Sheriff used the stolen cash to fund a lavish lifestyle on top of his £100,000 a year salary. His luxury mansion even has an outdoor swimming pool. He faces up to 10 years in jail.

    kennedy forster Forster appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh

    A former lawyer who embezzled £667,000 from his clients has had his sentence deferred and been given the chance to pay the money back. John Kennedy Forster, 54, who was a partner in a family law firm in Stranraer, has pleaded guilty to 40 charges. Forster was granted bail at the High Court in Edinburgh. The judge Lord Emslie said Forster had until 12 February to raise the money and this would be taken into consideration during sentencing. He (Forster) understands a custodial sentence will follow in this case which involves a gross breach of trust Forster's lawyer, Paul McBride QC, said his client recognised that there had been a gross breach of trust which would result in a custodial sentence. Forster, a former honorary sheriff, was sent to Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow earlier this month to await sentencing.

    But he was freed on appeal nine days later on condition that he handed in his passport and report to a police station. When he appeared before Lord Emslie again on Monday, his counsel asked for a further adjournment to continue efforts to make restitution. It also emerged that Forster had been struck off by the Law Society of Scotland in 2001, after they had carried out their own prosecution for embezzlement and attempting to mislead the society. The court heard that Forster had already repaid £200,000 and Mr McBride said that the final figure is likely to be under £400,000.

    Independent tribunal

    Paying back the money might be the most important feature in Forster's favour when sentencing is considered, Mr McBride added. He said: "He understands a custodial sentence will follow in this case which involves a gross breach of trust." Forster took £64,000 from the legacy of a man who bequeathed the money to Portpatrick Parish Church, the Dalrymple Hospital Patients' Fund, two charities for cancer and disabled people and the Portpatrick branch of the RNLI. He also took £5,000 awarded to a 17-year-old who was injured in a road accident. John Kennedy Forster embezzled clients' money, was dishonest and has no place in the Scottish solicitors profession

    Joe Platt Law Society of Scotland

    Forster was caught after a farmer's widow complained to the Law Society of Scotland that he had overcharged her by £8,500 for a sheriff court civil action between her and her son in 1995. He was prosecuted before the independent Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal in 2001, which instructed him to be struck from the roll of solicitors in Scotland. Joe Platt, the president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "This is an example of the society doing its job well and taking every effort to ensure that the public are protected from any rogue solicitor. "John Kennedy Forster embezzled clients' money, was dishonest and has no place in the Scottish solicitors profession. "The society has, at all times, worked to protect the interests of the clients of John Kennedy Forster." The society had not released details of its own prosecution of Forster so as not to prejudice the court case against him.

    kennedy forster Forster was sent to prison to await sentence later this month

    A former honorary sheriff is in prison facing a jail sentence after admitting embezzling £667,000. Kennedy Forster, 54, who was a senior partner in a family law firm in Stranraer, pleaded guilty to 40 charges at the High Court in Glasgow. For nearly a decade, he took money from clients' wills and robbed charity and church legacies of thousands of pounds. The judge, Lord Emslie, refused bail and remanded him in custody to be sentenced later this month.

    Lord Emslie said he had taken regard of the "number, nature and gravity of the charges". Forster's not guilty pleas to another 55 charges totalling £300,000 were accepted by the Crown.
    This is an example of the society doing its job well and taking every effort to ensure that the public are protected from any rogue solicitor Joe Platt
    President, Law Society of Scotland

    The court heard that much of the money was used to buy a farm to turn it into a housing development. It the prosecution almost two-and-a-half hours to outline the case against the father-of-five, whose legal firm at one time employed 25 staff with branches in Whithorn and Newton Stewart. Advocate depute Mark Stewart said: "The accused enjoyed a good lifestyle, living in a large house with an outdoor swimming pool and professionally landscaped grounds. "He took regular foreign holidays. He sent all five children to boarding school.
    "There is no doubt he was stealing to fund his lifestyle and that of his family."

    Compensation stolen

    Forster took £64,000 from the legacy of a man who bequeathed the money to Portpatrick Parish Church, the Dalrymple Hospital Patients' Fund, two charities for cancer and disabled people and the Portpatrick branch of the RNLI. He also took almost £5,000 awarded to a 17-year-old who was injured in a road accident. Forster was caught after a farmer's widow complained to the Law Society of Scotland that he had overcharged her by £8,500 for a sheriff court civil action between her and her son in 1995. Auditors were sent in and Forster was prosecuted before the independent Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal in 2001.
    It instructed him to be struck from the roll of solicitors in Scotland.

    Insurance policy

    After Forster appeared in court on Wednesday, Law Society President Joe Platt said: "This is an example of the society doing its job well and taking every effort to ensure that the public are protected from any rogue solicitor. "John Kennedy-Forster [the accused's full name] embezzled clients' money, was dishonest and has no place in the Scottish solicitors' profession. "Losses sustained by clients have been dealt with under the Master Policy for Insurance to which all solicitors in practice in Scotland subscribe."

    crooked lawyer Manson appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh

    A "deluded" former lawyer carried out a series of frauds because he could not come to terms with his failure in business, a court heard. Gordon Manson has admitted defrauding banks out of £2.7m in property deals - one carried out while he was on bail. He also conned a former school friend out of £40,000 and failed to pay back the £30,000 investment he received from a Livingston company.

    The 39-year-old used forged documents and assumed identities during his scams. His case was adjourned again when he appeared for sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday. Investigate claims Manson, who is being held in custody, claimed to have an interest in a £1m property in Manchester. Lord Hardie asked defence solicitor advocate Jim Keegan to investigate these claims and establish whether he could pay back some of the money he owed.

    Mr Keegan said his client's behaviour was "indicative of an individual who could not come to terms with the fact that he had failed in business and had gone bankrupt". He said Manson had worked as a lawyer in a large commercial practice and had been regularly involved in large transactions. Not only did he delude himself, he deluded others and to his extreme regret he deluded friends Jim KeeganSolicitor advocate "Having gone into business he was initially successful, and thereafter failure having occurred he continued with the facade of being a businessman.

    "Not only did he delude himself, he deluded others and to his extreme regret he deluded friends." He said Manson was "particularly remorseful" about the money lost by Gordon Fraser and his wife Deirdre, which he had resolved to pay back whenever possible. The undischarged bankrupt admitted committing four frauds, an attempted fraud of £820,000 and breaches of company director's disqualification rules. The High Court heard that Manson, formerly of Carlton Terrace, Edinburgh, approached Livingston firm Multex Engineering in 1996 after it advertised for investment opportunities.

    'Fobbed off' The company agreed to invest £30,000 in a company called the Claymore Group, but Manson missed the deadline for repaying the money. A cheque he later sent to the company bounced. Advocate depute Sean Murphy said: "The Multex directors attempted to contact him and were fobbed off with various excuses, but the money never appeared and was never paid back." Mr and Mrs Fraser also failed to get back the £40,00 they loaned to Manson the following year.

    A deal was done to buy 3 Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh In 2001 Manson used the name Graham Robinson to seek an £820,000 loan on behalf of a development company to buy property in Edinburgh. However, the bank later received a fax pulling out of the transaction. Mr Murphy said that police then learned that Manson had accepted a £900,000 to buy a property at 3 Randolph Crescent in Edinburgh. Manson, again pretending to be Robinson, showed the bank a forged driving licence and gas bill in that name and produced a forged lawyer's letter which said Robinson was a millionaire. Manson admitted forging signatures and using the false identity when he was interviewed by police. Bank employees He was granted bail after appearing in court. However, in September last year he pretended to bank employees in Aberdeen that he was Niall Robertson, who he said was authorised to represent a company called Braemar House. He said that the firm needed a loan of £1.8m to buy a property in the city's Union Street. The transaction went ahead before the collapse of what Mr Murphy described as the "house of cards" constructed by Manson.

  • Gordon Manson ruined our lives
    scammed ONE of Scotland's most flamboyant lawyers has resigned from his upmarket law practice after his partner discovered gaps in their accounts.

    Sun-tanned amateur body builder Rick McAnulty is now under investigation by watchdogs the Law Society of Scotland. And his pounds 500,000 home in Merchiston, Edinburgh, is being sold by former business partner Stewart Hunter. Dad-of-two McAnulty, who is in his 40s, stepped down after a face-to-face meeting with Hunter. Callers to the company's offices in expensive Morningside Road are informed that McAnulty has resigned.

    His name has been removed from above the door of the firm's office. It was formerly known as Hunter McAnulty, One legal insider said: "This is the talk of the town and everyone is genuinely surprised. The company is now called Hunter - it's as if Rick was never there." A Law Society of Scotland spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that we are investigating possible breaches of the accounts rules by Mr McAnulty while at the firm of Hunter McAnulty.

    "Mr Hunter approached the society with his concerns after a number of issues arose within the firm. "He has been co-operating with us fully on these issues.

    "The society's accounts team is working with Mr Hunter and the practice to make sure that the books are in order and clients are protected." She added: "The society's information is that no clients have suffered loss and that the matter is being resolved within the practice. "Mr McAnulty resigned from the firm of Hunter McAnulty. He has a current practising certificate which has not been surrendered or suspended. "Our understanding is that Mr McAnulty is not currently practising. "The society will continue to monitor the position."

    Fitness fan McAnulty cuts a colourful figure in Edinburgh's legal scene. The solicitor's most high-profile case involved shamed coke-snorting St Johnstone football players Kevin Thomas and George O'Boyle. One source said: "He and Stewart were sitting on a goldmine business. "The firm handles millions of pounds worth of property transactions and the Edinburgh market is booming.

    "It's pretty sad to see Rick's house being sold through his former company. "It is in the heart of the desirable Merchiston area and could fetch up to pounds 500,000." A pal of McAnulty said: "He plays golf with the Hibs chairman, Malcolm McPherson, who is also a lawyer, and top hairdresser Brian Drumm. He has even taken clients to Celtic matches in hired white limousines." Last night, McAnulty said: "I can categorically say there are all sorts of rumours flying about that are not true.

    "I have not taken a penny of clients' money out of the practice. "If anybody wants to say differently, they will be sued. "I've resigned as a partner and I refuse to say any more than that."

    robert black Robert Black, QC: Trips to Libya
    Lawyer backed by Pro-Gaddafi businessmen

    SCOTLAND’S most vocal legal critic of the case against convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi received financial assistance worth thousands of pounds from businessmen linked to Colonel Gaddafi.
    Robert Black, QC, who has secured widespread publicity to protest the Libyan’s innocence and criticise the prosecution case against him in British and US media interviews, has insisted that he always acted independently.

    But yesterday he admitted that companies with commercial interests in the country helped fund trips to meet the dictator’s officials and that the Libyan government may even have paid his hotel bills.

    Last night it led angry relatives of some of the 270 Lockerbie victims to claim the disclosures backed up suspicions they had long harboured about the professor of Scots law at Edinburgh University. Legal colleagues also claimed the payments called his independence into question while politicians said lawyers should in future be compelled to disclose financial links to any parties they are involved with.

    Scotland on Sunday can reveal that Black undertook up to five trips to Libya between October 1993 and 2002, partly bankrolled by a consortium of British businessmen who stand to benefit if UN sanctions against the country are lifted. The businessmen, whom Black refuses to name, believed there was a better chance of sanctions being removed and trade relations with Libya being resumed if an impasse over how to deal with the Libyan Lockerbie suspects was resolved.

    Lifting the trade ban would have obvious benefits for Gaddafi’s regime as well as UK companies. The consortium was attempting to secure major engineering work in the country, including large-scale electrical power generation.

    Black first met representatives of the consortium in 1992 and says he agreed, after hearing that the lifting of sanctions could help Scottish jobs, to do what he could to end the impasse in which Libya insisted the case against two accused Libyans be heard in their native country while the UK government insisted it should be in Britain.

    It led to Black being given costs for scheduled flights to Gerba in Tunisia and travel on to Libya to discuss the Lockerbie case with key government figures. Ultimately Black, who spoke to Gaddafi among others, proposed the idea of the trial of al-Megrahi and his co-accused Al-Amin Khalifah Fhimah in a third country with no jury, but with a Scottish judge leading four other judges. It led to the case being heard at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands by a panel of three Scottish judges, with al-Megrahi convicted and sentenced to life in prison, while Fhimah was acquitted.

    As a result of the case, Libya has indicated it will pay more than £1.5bn to the families of victims of Pan Am Flight 103 after accepting ‘civil responsibility’ for the 1988 explosion, and UN sanctions are expected to be lifted soon.

    Black, who has described the case against al-Megrahi as "a scandal", last night claimed to be the victim of a smear campaign and continued to insist he had acted independently.

    He said: "I have been in contact with the Libyan government since October 1993 and have done various things, including putting forward proposals for the Lockerbie trial - but I have never been employed as a lawyer by the Libyan government.

    "I’ve never been involved in the business side of it. I’m not a businessman. If there were negotiations between these businessmen and the Libyans on commercial matters I certainly was never involved."

    But Black, who said his motivation was that the facts about the tragedy should be ventilated in a court of law, confirmed he received financial help from the businessmen looking to work with the Libyan government on trade opportunities. He estimated the travel costs they paid for would have amounted to "a few thousand pounds".

    And he added: "None of the times I was out there under the auspices of these businessmen was I asked to pay a hotel bill, so whether the Libyan government was picking that up I don’t know."

    While there is no suggestion that Black broke any rules, the disclosures last night angered some relatives of the Lockerbie victims. Eileen Monetti, of the Victims Of Pan Am Flight 103, who lost her 20-year-old son Rick in the bombing, said: "This man who is a lawyer is saying he never thought to ask who settled his bill?

    "We in the US have always been suspicious of him saying these guys were innocent. I never thought of him as independent."

    A source close to the al-Megrahi defence team said he, too, had long doubted Black’s independence. The source said: "His activities were always shrouded with questions to which there were no answers. We found the whole thing suspicious."

    Another legal insider added: "It is extraordinary for a lawyer to visit a foreign country on a number of occasions when he is effectively being ‘sponsored’ by a company which was attempting to re-engage with a country that traded in terror.

    "I am surprised that he did not apply his otherwise intelligent mind more to the suffering victims of the Lockerbie bombing." A Scottish Tory spokesman added: "People in the public eye taking part in any sensitive issue should have their links, their sponsorships and connections disclosed. Then they would be less open to criticism." But Jim Swire, a leading British Lockerbie campaigner whose daughter Flora died in the atrocity, rallied to Black’s defence. He was unaware of Black’s financial affairs but said he was "not at all" worried.

    He added: "My attitude has always been the sooner Libya is allowed back into normal community relations, the better. Guilty or not, if they are regarded as a pariah state it greatly enhances the risks of them going back into terrorism."

    Black rejects any suggestion that his independence has been compromised and insists he has been the victim of dirty tricks. He said: "I have been pretty active in the anti-Iraq war lobby which has not pleased certain people and my activities over Lockerbie have not pleased certain people so the fact that mud is being slung in my direction comes as no surprise."

    Alastair Hall A lawyer who embezzled money from his clients to fund his extravagant lifestyle has been jailed for 11 years. Alastair Hall, from Perthshire, stole about £500,000 worth of cash and shares, often from elderly clients and used the money to pay for shooting and fishing weekends. The former Territorial Army major also stole a valuable Robert Burns book which ended up being sold to the National Library of Scotland.

    Sentencing Hall, 46, at the High Court in Edinburgh, trial judge Lord Wheatley said he regarded the catalogue of offences as being the "worst of its kind". The essence of what you did was to steal this money to maintain a standard of living you would not otherwise be able to afford
    The court heard that Hall, a father of five, spent about £2,000 on a weekend's shooting or fishing and had an expensive taste in antiques. He also alleged that his father was a rear-admiral in the Navy when in fact he was a petty officer during his National Service.

    Lord Wheatley said: "It is very clear that you have over a period of many years profoundly abused the position of confidence and trust which you held as a solicitor." "There is no question but that you systemically looted the accounts of a number of your clients, some of whom were elderly clients, who had clearly given you their complete confidence.

    "The essence of what you did was to steal this money to maintain a standard of living you would not otherwise be able to afford," said the judge. Hall, formerly of Kingseat, Bridge of Cally, in Perthshire, and Stafford Street, Helensburgh, in Dunbartonshire, had admitted five charges of embezzlement, two of fraud, a theft, a bankruptcy offence and failing to appear for his trial last year.

    Alastair Hall A lawyer has admitted stealing cash and shares worth more than £500,000 from his clients. Alistair Hall admitted a string of fraud and deception charges, including failing to turn up for trial in April last year. The offences included cheating an elderly woman out of more than £150,000 while she was in a residential home, and stealing a rare book of Burns poetry. Sentence on the 46-year-old was deferred for three weeks after he admitted the charges at the High Court in Edinburgh.

    Hall stole a book of Burns poetry Hall pleaded guilty to five embezzlement charges, two counts of fraud, a breach of bankruptcy regulations and failing to appear at his earlier court case. A warrant for his arrest was issued in April last year after he failed to appear for his scheduled trial at the High Court in Stirling. His victims included a woman in her 80s who lived in a residential home at Birnam, Perthshire. He embezzled Agnes Forrest, who has since died, out of £150,102 between November 1990 and March 1993 while acting as her solicitor. He was a partner at the law firm of A & R Robertson and Black in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, at the time. Stocks and shares

    He embezzled a further £87,875 between May 1991 and December 1998 while acting as a lawyer for a Perth-based firm, Picardie Ltd. He also admitted illegally obtaining stocks and shares worth more than £240,000 while acting as a solicitor for Anne Jameson, of Bellsden, Kinloch, by Blairgowrie, between November 1993 and February 1999. Hall, formerly of Stafford Street, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, was sequestrated in October 2000 at Dumbarton Sheriff Court. He admitted a breach of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act by making false statements to an insolvency administrator. He also admitted stealing a book by Robert Burns, "Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect," between October 1987 and February 1994. The poet had written in names omitted in the text, which was published in 1787.

    victor tough A SCOTS lawyer who cut off his father’s ear with a potato peeler during a murder bid was jailed for eight years yesterday. Victor Tough snapped after his poetry writing was interrupted by his partially blind father, John, at their Inverness home.

    He repeatedly beat the former serviceman with the pensioner’s walking stick and slashed him with the peeler, cutting off part of his ear, which was found on top of the television in the Inverness flat where the attack took place. Passing sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Abernethy said: "You have given no explanation for the attack, but I accept that you have been of previous unblemished record and are remorseful."

    An earlier court appearance, at the High Court in Forfar, heard how the 38-year-old made an instant "judgment" that his father’s quality of life was not worthwhile. The 69-year-old former soldier was hospitalised for four months and would have died had he not received immediate medical assistance, the court was told.

  • Lawyer attacks father with potato peeler
    scammed A lawyer has appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court charged with carrying out frauds against companies and banks totalling more than £2m.
    Gordon Manson, 38, faces 86 charges, including allegations that he acted as a company director despite being declared bankrupt seven years ago.

    He made no plea nor declaration and was released on bail on condition that he does not enter his offices in Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh.
    Manson was also ordered to hand over his passport.

  • Ex-lawyer sentenced for fraud
  • A decade of deceit
    crooked lawyer Kevin Dooley was accused of "spurious transactions"A Merseyside solicitor has been struck off for his involvement in amulti-million pound fraud plot.Kevin Dooley was found guilty of conduct unbefitting a solicitor anddishonesty by the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal on Tuesday.During his 24-year career Mr Dooley represented several Premiership footballers, former Merseyside chief constables and Liverpool Football Club.Despite warnings from the Law Society and his bank Mr Dooley continuedparticipating in high yield investment schemes that "bore the hallmarks of a bank fraud".

    [Mr Dooley] knew that the transactions were suspect or he was wholly reckless The turnover in Mr Dooley's client account was £94m in the three years up toJune 2000 when the account and his firm Dooley and Co, were closed by theLaw Society. At the tribunal chairman Anthony Isaacs said senior partner Mr Dooley, of Lancashire, acted with "conscious impropriety" in schemes in which investorslost millions. Between 1995 and 2000 Mr Dooley took part in 19 bogus schemes after beingintroduced to them by his friend John Silver, who is currently in prison.Merseyside Police bugged Mr Dooley's offices and recorded conversations between them that were "akin to Fagin and Artful Dodger", the tribunal was told.

    $1m fee Mr Isaacs said: "In light of the warnings which the respondent (Dooley)received the tribunal has come to the conclusion that either the respondent knew that the transactions were suspect or he was wholly reckless. "He seemed to be wholly unwilling to question the actions of Mr Silver or the transactions he was involved in."The schemes involved huge sums of money, promised returns of up to 1,400%and served no legitimate purpose, the tribunal heard.Mr Dooley's fee from one deal was US $1m (£715,000).Cash 'lost' Silver pocketed US $25,000 (£17,800) from the deal, but the cash was sent to Australia and "lost".Silver was jailed for 30 months in January 2001 for stealing US $100,000(£71,000) from his employers.Mr Dooley had denied he was knowingly involved in fraud, adding that he hadbeen "quite mindful" to avoid any conflict of interest. Mr Dooley, 59, from Ormskirk, was told he must pay the cost of the Law Society investigation into the case.

    scammed A solicitor has appeared in court charged with an alleged Legal Aid fraud worth more than £330,000 over a period of three years.

    John Tate, 50, of Mayberry Grove, Middlesbrough, appeared before Newcastle Magistrates in relation to 81 counts of dishonesty relating to 27 alleged frauds. He faces 27 charges each of forgery, false accounting and dishonestly obtaining money. The solicitor also faces a composite charge that between December 1996 and December 1999 he dishonestly obtained more than £330,000 from the Legal Aid Board. No pleas were entered at today's hearing and the case was adjourned until September 11. Tate was granted unconditional bail.(SOURCE PULLED)
    A lawyer convicted of abusing young boys three years ago has been struck off as a solicitor. Julian Danskin, 50, a former chairman of East Fife Football club, was found guilty of abusing the boys in Fife while he was a captain in the Boys' Brigade. The independent Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal ordered him to be struck off after a complaint from the Law Society of Scotland.

    On Monday, the tribunal said Danskin was "no longer a suitable person to remain a solicitor" and it was important that the public saw that justice was done. The tribunal is of the opinion that he is no longer a suitable person to remain a solicitor. Danskin was jailed for 18 months and placed on the sex offenders' register in 1999 after he was convicted of indecency offences. He was released on bail within days of his conviction pending an appeal. But in July last year, this was dismissed and his sentence upheld at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh. The Law Society of Scotland then brought a complaint against Danskin to the independent Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal. At a hearing on Monday the tribunal described his behaviour as "disgraceful and dishonourable and wholly unbecoming a solicitor".

    Professional misconduct

    The tribunal said: "A solicitor has a duty to maintain the same standard of propriety in his private life as would be expected of his in his professional practice. "It is imperative that the public can expect a high standard of conduct and responsibility from members of an honourable profession. "The tribunal is of the opinion that he is no longer a suitable person to remain a solicitor." Danskin was also found guilty of professional misconduct over a property transaction where he acted for both parties, where there was a conflict of interest and he had a personal interest in the outcome.
    crooked lawyer The Law Society was embroiled in a new controversy last night when it emerged that a candidate for a seat on its ruling council is a solicitor who faces a £1.6m fraud trial and failed to mention the fact in his election statement. Paul Baxendale-Walker, 38, and another accused, were charged in November 2000 with defrauding the pension fund of a now defunct manufacturing business. The serious fraud office, which is handling the prosecution, said the trial was expected to last three to four months and was due to start in September.

    Mr Baxendale-Walker is one of four candidates contesting a seat representing solicitors from Westminster, central London, on the governing body for the 80,000 solicitors in England and Wales. One of his opponents,Sue Nelson, who holds the post, said: "It's between him and his conscience what he tells his constituents, as long as he acts consistently with his professional obligations." In his election statement Mr Baxendale-Walker says he is an Oxford law graduate and former barrister who trained at Arthur Andersen accountants. He "built up a market-leading multinational specialist solicitor's firm from nothing" and is "a recognised published authority on commercial trusts and tax law". A Law Society spokesman said it would be "undemocratic and prejudicial" if the society were to tell Westminster solicitors of Mr Baxendale-Walker's impending trial. He added: "There is no power in the Law Society bylaws to reject a nomination on the grounds that criminal proceedings are pending against a member who is otherwise qualified to stand." Next month's election and AGM threaten yet further embarrassments for the society, including a motion of no confidence in its main board.

    Ethnic minority lawyers are angry that the board has supported the president to be, Carolyn Kirby, amid a row over comments she made two years ago about a "culture" among Asian managers, and at the board's failure to take action against a past president, Robert Sayer, who was found guilty of "unconscious" race and sex discrimination against the vice-president of the time, Kamlesh Bahl. Black and Asian lawyers have put down a motion of censure against Mr Sayer. They are also calling for an inquiry into whether institutional racism and sexism exists at the society.

    scammed A former solicitor who swindled £224,000 from his late uncle's estate and also tried to defraud that of his stepfather was jailed for three years yesterday.

    Nigel Guy Pollard, 59, "made himself a lottery winner" by milking Robert Shearer's estate for almost a decade while acting as its executor, Birmingham Crown Court was told. Pollard, of Geldock Road, Little Billing, Northamptonshire, was found guilty last month of 24 counts of theft, attempted theft, false accounting and attempted deception after a trial that had lasted five weeks. Sentencing the disgraced former lawyer, Judge Marshall said that the crimes represented a breach of trust not only towards the beneficiaries of the estates, but also towards the deceased men.

    "There is no doubt in my mind that this passes the standards that are required for a custodial sentence," the judge added. Police began an investigation into Pollard's affairs four years ago after the solicitor's business partner at the time, with whom he was running a practice in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, learnt that the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors was investigating him. The trial was told Pollard was supposed to have acted as a trustee for the estate of his late uncle, which included a successful offshore company based on the Isle of Man and three Spanish homes.

    Opening the case for the prosecution, Stuart Rafferty told the jury that, instead of keeping the 15 per cent to which he was entitled as a beneficiary of the will, Pollard abused his position as executor and helped himself to funds deposited in his uncle's Danish bank account. The offences also included one count of attempted deception, which related to a claim to a half share of a property that had been included in the will of his late stepfather, William Young. The offences were committed between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s.

    crooked lawyer A LAWYER who admitted stealing nearly $200,000 from clients will not have to spend a single day in jail.

    Peter John Howse, the son of a former County Court judge, was allowed to walk free from the Supreme Court yesterday because he was depressed when he turned to crime. Justice Geoff Flatman told Howse, 48, that he was not a risk to the community and his mental disorder meant he did not have to serve the appropriate jail term.

    "These offences were not committed by you out of greed but rather arose out of you finding yourself in disorganised financial circumstances," Justice Flatman said. The shonky lawyer told police he was attempting to stave off financial ruin when he stole the money while working in sole practice in Wantirna. Howse is the son of Judge John Howse, who retired in 1990. Justice Flatman jailed Howse for three years but wholly suspended the sentence.
    scammed A SOLICITOR arrested as part of an investigation into an alleged fake marriage racket is to face a Law Society tribunal after pleading guilty to two offences.

    Bob Pickles, 66, a well-known figure in Blackburn's legal circles, was initially arrested last January after police carried out raids at the Blackburn offices of law firm Parker and Pickles. He was charged after further inquiries and later pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to one charge of making a false statement to procure a passport and another of making a false written statement required by statute under the Perjury Act 1911. He will be sentenced later this year.

    Today a spokesman for the Office for Supervision of Solicitors -- the regulatory arm of the Law Society -- said Pickles will appear before an independent Solicitor's Disciplinary Tribunal for misconduct "in due course." He said Pickles, who was suspended from practising when the allegations came to light, could face a fine, suspension for a fixed period or indefinitely, or be struck off. The spokesman added that although Pickles had admitted the charges, the tribunal would still go ahead.

    Pickles retired from the Parker and Pickles law firm in Richmond Terrace, Blackburn, last year after founding the practice of Farley, Parker and Pickles in 1960, along with John Parker and the late Frank Farley. He went on to join John Parker in partnership at the firm Parker and Pickles, which opened in 1993, where he specialised in family, matrimonial, criminal and civil law and litigation. A spokesman for Preston Crown Court confirmed Pickles, who lives in the Ribble Valley, had pleaded guilty to the charges at a brief hearing in February and that he would be sentenced later in the year. He is currently still on bail.

    Last month, Ismail Purbhai, 52, of Dartford Close, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to four charges of securing and facilitating leave to remain in the UK by deception. Two other people who have pleaded not guilty to similar charges. The two, both from Blackburn, will face a jury in August on charges of securing and facilitating leave to remain in the UK and securing illegal entry into the UK for various people between 1995 and 1999. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

    Donna Louise Morris

    Admitted 1997;
    Application 8373/2001;
    Hearing, 6 November 2001; reasons, 22 January 2002

    The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) ordered the respondent, of Maes-y-felin Farm, St Mellins Rd, Lisvane, Cardiff CF14 0SH, who had practised as an assistant solicitor to be struck off the Roll on 6 November 2001 for unbefitting conduct, in that she had misappropriated funds from her employer. The SDT had not heard evidence to mitigate the gravity of her conduct, nor had she sought to excuse it. The respondent was ordered to pay costs (to be assessed).

    Michael Geoffrey France

    Admitted 1979;
    Application 8358/2001;
    Hearing, 23 October 2001; reasons, 11 January 2002

    The SDT ordered the respondent, of 57 Radford Rd, Hyson Green, Nottingham NG7 5DR, who practised as a sole principal, to be suspended from practice for an indefinite period with effect from 20 November 2001 for unbefitting conduct, in that he had failed to lodge within two months outstanding accountant's reports for the periods ended 31 October 1999, 30 April 2000 and 31 October 2000; he had failed to comply with a decision of an adjudicator (requiring the delivery of the first such report within 28 days); he had failed to make indemnity fund contributions, contrary to rule 31 of the Solicitors Indemnity Rules 1998; he had failed to deal with correspondence from the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors; and he had thereby compromised and impaired his good repute and that of the profession, contrary to practice rule 1(d). The accountant's reports for the periods ended 31 October 1999 and 30 April 2000 had been filed in December 2000.

    However, the SDT further ordered that if the respondent satisfied the clerk to the tribunal that he had lodged the accountant's report for the period ended 31 October 2000 by 20 November 2001, and that he had paid the outstanding sum due to the indemnity fund by that date, the suspension would not take effect and a penalty of £5,000 would be substituted therefore. In March 2000, the respondent had been reprimanded by the SDT for unbefitting conduct, in that he had failed to file accountant's reports promptly (application 8019/1999 [2000] Gazette, 29 June, 43). The respondent was ordered to pay £3,000 costs.
    scammed A solicitor has been found guilty of professional misconduct after a tribunal held he had sent "offensive, extravagant and unprofessional" letters and faxes.   By any standards, Locheil Cushnie isn't your typical lawyer. Having previously worked as a psychiatric nurse and ambulance driver, he now runs a part-time practice on his own from a house belonging to his estranged wife.

      One of his clients, who has learning difficulties, was at the centre of a dispute over the use of a croft he had been left by his mother. Cushnie convinced himself that there was a conspiracy at work, and fired off a raft of letters accusing solicitors and a psychiatrist of perjury and malice. Complaining to his client about one of the lawyers, Cushnie wrote:    "He clearly has little knowledge of the law. I am at a loss to comprehend [his] mentality when he rubbishes your mother as daft, your brother as doolally and sets sister against sister with carrots of cash." The Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal decided that this wasn't the sort of thing they wanted to encourage, and restricted Cushnie to acting as a qualified assistant for two years. Unfortunately, there's no record of Cushnie's reaction to the decision.