SDT strikes off convicted solicitor at third time of asking


SDT: solicitor failed to heed warning

SDT: solicitor failed to heed warning

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has struck off a solicitor convicted of serious criminal offences after he was allowed to continue in practice following two previous appearances before the tribunal for accounts and practice rules breaches.

Conceding that a warning given on his second SDT appearance had been ineffective, the tribunal said that criminal offences subsequently committed by sole practitioner Dale Robert Walker were of a seriousness that he could not remain on the roll for “a moment longer”.

Mr Walker, who did not offer any mitigation, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in April 2015 by to 21 months’ imprisonment for aiding and abetting an unauthorised collective investment scheme and five and a half years’ imprisonment for money laundering, to run concurrently.

The tribunal recorded that the trial judge had noted the seriousness of a solicitor being involved in a nearly £900,000 money laundering offence. The fraud perpetrated was both “subtle and cruel”, and it had had a “dreadful impact” on its victims.

The tribunal regarded the criminal offences Mr Walker had committed as “at the higher end of the spectrum of seriousness”  and that his “actions had been cynical and utterly calculated”.

Compounding the seriousness of Walker’s conviction, the tribunal noted, was the fact that he had been before it on two previous occasions, with an escalation in the amount of fine he had been ordered to pay.

In April 2005 he was fined £10,000 plus £12,000 costs after being found guilty of conduct unbefitting a solicitor for Solicitors Accounts Rules and Solicitors Practice Rules breaches. In April 2009 he was found guilty of similar rule breaches, but accepting that he “had been reckless rather than dishonest in his method of charging”, the tribunal ordered that he pay a fine of £15,000 plus costs of £16,000.

The SDT recorded that: “He had been advised that a second appearance before the tribunal was an extremely serious matter. Clearly that warning had no effect upon him.”

Mr Walker was struck off the roll of solicitors and ordered to pay costs of £3,150.

Tags:




    Readers Comments

  • Geoffrey Negus says:

    A year since Walker was imprisoned, and only now is he struck off. And this latest consideration by the SDT of Walker’s conduct was his third. What a farce. Is the SDT really fit for purpose??


Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog


Clinical negligence, a changing market – part 1

The consolidation of law firms through merger and acquisition has resulted in fewer, but more sophisticated and expert clinical negligence practices.


How to set your law firm up for success in 2022

At this time of year, law firms around the country are busy strategising and implementing plans for the coming 12 months. Forward-planning is a crucial part of a firm’s success, but where to start?


Are you ready to sign a personal guarantee to secure your indemnity insurance?

Perhaps the most worrying trend we are seeing in the professional indemnity market is the increased scrutiny of the financial position of SME law firms and demand for personal guarantees.


Loading animation