Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lawyer convicted of criminal offence allowed to remain in legal practice by the Law Society of Scotland

It's not unusual that a lawyer with a criminal conviction is allowed to remain in legal practice, retaining their practicing certificate - despite what some newspapers might have us believe.

The Law Society of Scotland will do everything to protect it's own members, and disregarding a criminal conviction to allow a solicitor to continue in business illustrates the lack of standards, where those who break the law, or break the public trust are allowed to carry on regardless.

Lawyers with criminal convictions who remain in service are as much a danger to clients as child abusers are to children if they were left in charge of a school nursery. Any crooked lawyers who break the law certainly can't be allowed to remain in a job dealing with issues of law for members of the public. How could such a person every be trusted ?

How bad can the legal profession in Scotland get, when members sport criminal records but fail to reveal their secrets to their clients, and even some within their own ranks are suspected of ordering mafia style hits on their own bosses like in the attack on the Law Society's Chief Accountant, Leslie Cumming.

Certainly give's added weight to the saying - it takes a crook to catch a crook - but when it comes to regulating their own, crooked lawyers just seem to love letting other crooked lawyers off the hook.

Here's another thought - recently the numbers of criminal convictions of serving Police officers were revealed - I hear the numbers of lawyers with prosecutions on criminal charges / criminal convictions is much higher, because I looked into it when the story on the cops came up ... but trying to make an FOI request to the Law Society will see you informed the Law Society is exempt from FOI ! - and the Crown Office's response to an FOI on this very same issue of criminal convictions / prosecutions of lawyers on criminal charges, saw the Lord Advocate's Office initial response by demanding to know why those statistics were required .. then they clammed up, saying - "we don't keep those kinds of records"

It seems the Crown Office are good at dragging out statistics on convictions for plenty other offences ... but not for crooked lawyers .. but maybe that's to be expected - because some of those in the statistics might be revealed as .. Fiscals .. such as the one who was recently found guilty of a sex offence in Glasgow .. and another who was dragged out in the middle of a court case because his pc was full of child porn.

There are many more Julian Danskin's (child abuser) and John McCabe's (lawyer who ran off with £4million of clients money in the early 90's) walking around still representing clients today - which would give many ordinary people the shudders if they knew who they were dealing with as their lawyer.

This goes to the heart of what the public need to know about the people who are trusted to represent issues of legal importance .. so one more lawyer remaining in legal practice, just because she was found guilty of a criminal offence of fraudulently claiming child benefit, isn't that unusual ...

Read on for the article, from the Sunday Mail, at :

3 September 2006

A LAWYER who admitted a £5000 childcare tax fraud is being allowed to continue practising.

Mum-of-three Louise Hay - nicknamed Ally McSteal - pretended to be a single parent and claimed cash she was not entitled to for more than two years.

She received £5187.78 Working Family Tax Credit by signing Inland Revenue forms with the name Hazel Mears. She was fined £750.

But the Scottish Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal have ruled Hay, 38, can remain a lawyer because there is little chance of her re-offending.

Hay, of Broughty Ferry, is expected to try to get a new job with a firm in Dundee.

The Law Society of Scotland said: "She can only act as a qualified assistant under supervision and will not handle money."

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