A solicitor has been rebuked and fined after receiving a police caution for importing a class C drug into the UK to control the pain caused by a longstanding medical condition.
Paul Eric Stevenson accepted the sanction, with the fine set at £1,200 plus costs of £600, in a regulatory settlement agreement with the Solicitors Regulation Authority that means he will not have to face a disciplinary tribunal.
The agreement said Mr Stevenson has had a medical prescription for Lorazepam since the 1970s for pain control purposes.
Lorazepam is a controlled substance in the UK and is categorised as a class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and between 2015 and 2017, the solicitors attempted to import it into the UK on five or six occasions.
Three of these attempts were intercepted by the UK authorities. The first one led to a letter from HM Revenue & Customs, and the second to a visit from a police officer.
The agreement said that, on 21 November 2017, following the third interception, Mr Stevenson accepted a police caution.
Mr Stevenson admitted breaching principle 1 (upholding the rule of law and the proper administration of justice) and principle 6 (behaving in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services) of the SRA Principles.
The SRA said that, in deciding that the agreed outcome was proportionate, it took into account Mr Stevenson’s mitigation that he had a long-standing prescription for Lorazepam from his GP and the Lorazepam he attempted to import was intended solely for his personal use.
Further, “Mr Stevenson has since engaged with his GP and other medical professionals to manage his health problems”.
Meanwhile, a paralegal has been rebuked, fined £2,000 and banned from working in the profession without the permission of the SRA after she lied on her CV.
The regulator said Hani Hussein worked at Oracle Solicitors and Consultants in north London for a short time in 2017 until the firm found that she had cited qualifications in her CV that she did not have.
The SRA said: “There was clear evidence that Ms Hussein posted her CV to an online job website stating that she had a first class LLB law degree from Oxford Brookes University and that she had also completed the Bar professional training course at the College of Law. Neither of these statements is true…
“Ms Hussein was dishonest. Honesty and integrity are central to one’s role as the client’s trusted adviser. They are required of all those involved in the provision of legal services and Ms Hussein has demonstrated that she can act without these.”