Top Banking specialist lawyer Grant Docherty found guilty of threatening client. SOLICITOR GRANT DOCHERTY, currently the head of Banking & Finance at DWF Biggart Baillie has been found GUILTY of PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT and fined £7,500 by the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal (SSDT) after it emerged Police were called in to investigate threats he made against a client over a cancelled property transaction.
Evidence presented to the SSDT and included in complaints made to the Law Society of Scotland revealed that solicitor Docherty (aged 49), who is currently head of the Banking & Finance team at DWF Biggart Baillie said Robert Rankin would be ripped “to shreds” after failing to come up money for a house purchase. The Discipline Tribunal also heard that Docherty, 49, sent his client a string of abusive texts including one which warned: “I’ll come after you with everything I have.” A further text said: “This is personal. You’re a liar and the worst sort of human being.”
The mountain of threats from Docherty, who is recommended by the Law Society to clients who need legal advice on banking matters, began when a client, a Mr Rankin of Hamilton, revealed he could no longer buy a house in Troon, Ayrshire, from Mr Docherty’s widowed father. Docherty’s colleagues at Biggart Baillie then launched legal action against Rankin. A few days later, Docherty rang the lawyer handling the case.
Acting for the Law Society of Scotland, the Prosecuting Fiscal, Paul Marshall, told a Scottish Solicitor’s Discipline tribunal in Edinburgh: “He said he would rip Robert Rankin to shreds.” Prosecutor Mr Marshall went on to tell the Discipline Tribunal that some of Docherty’s 33 vile messages, which had been sent between December 2010 and January 2011, were seen by the client’s young son. One of the messages said Docherty would “ensure” Robert was “destroyed”.
Docherty only stopped threatening his client, who had been put in a state of fear & alarm by the solicitor’s actions, when Police were called in. Complaints were then made to the Law Society of Scotland who brought the prosecution of Docherty before the Tribunal hearing in April where the solicitor was fined £7,500 after being found guilty of professional misconduct. It was reported the Tribunal chairman Alistair Cockburn said at the hearing : “The expressions used were unfitting of a solicitor.”
However, it has emerged tonight that the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal have secretly discussed the case with a view to refrain from publishing some of the more threatening texts sent by the solicitor, which a well placed legal insider claims are allegedly of “a violent nature”.
The legal insider said : “The SSDT have a duty to ensure the public be given a true picture of Mr Docherty’s conduct towards his client and this can only be achieved by publishing all the communications from the solicitor to his client in their entirety in the Tribunal’s final report.”
As of this evening, the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal have suspiciously failed to publish its decision on the prosecution of Docherty which took place nearly a month ago.
No one from the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal could be contacted for comment, and a spokesperson for the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service told a Scottish Law Reporter journalist they were unable to say whether Mr Docherty was being investigated at this time by themselves or the Police. Neither Docherty or Mr Rankin could be reached for further comment.
Docherty does not mention the incident on his Linkedin page, which states “I am head of the Banking & Finance team at DWF Biggart Baillie. I have built up over 22 years experience in the banking and finance sector working for well known Hong Kong and Scottish commercial law firms during which time I have played a key role in a range of high profile international and cross-border transactions. I trained in Scotland and left the country in 1990 to pursue my career in Hong Kong. Prior to joining Biggart Baillie, I established and led DLA Piper's Banking and Finance team in Hong Kong.”
Docherty, who lists golf, cricket, skiing and travel as his enjoyments, goes on to say : “My practice covers a broad range of banking and finance work, including bilateral and syndicated loans, property finance, asset finance, acquisition finance, project finance, structured finance and securitisation, banking regulation, equipment leasing, banking product development and documentation, bank mergers and acquisitions and debt restructuring. My clients have included banks and financial institutions, leasing companies, corporate borrowers, shipping companies and financial services and banking regulator”
The Scottish Sun newspaper reported on the prosecution of Docherty here : Raging lawyer’s threat over cancelled house deal