A solicitor who did not report his conviction for assault to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has agreed to remove himself from the profession for three years.
According to a regulatory settlement agreement published by the SRA, Sheffield-based David Crooks also pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle while unfit.
Mr Crooks, who qualified as a solicitor in 2011, was an independent advocate at Sheffield Citizen Advice Bureau from October 2011 until June 2016, nearly four months after his convictions.
The SRA said it received a report of Mr Crooks’ conduct from a third party.
In the agreement, the solicitor admitted that, due to his convictions, he failed to uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice and failed to behave in a way that maintains the trust the public placed in him and in the provision of legal services.
Further, the failure to report the convictions to the SRA breached his regulatory obligations.
In mitigation, he apologised for not reporting himself to the SRA and accepted that his conduct fell below that expected of a solicitor. He said that at the time of the offences he was suffering from ill health.
Mr Crooks agreed that, by 22 December, he would apply for the removal of his name from the roll of solicitors and that he would not apply for it to be restored for three years.
He also agreed to pay £600 in costs.
The SRA also published two other regulatory settlements, for Simon Christopher Pass (born 1970, qualified 1999) and James Benjamin Mawbey-Shaw (born 1984, qualified 2008), who were directors of Law Offices (UK) Ltd.
They accepted that they allowed non-client monies arising from charity dinners to be paid into and held in the firm’s client account without justification.
Separately they also paid an £800 compensation order made by the Legal Complaints Service from client money.
Both breaches were also failures by Mr Pass in his role as the firm’s compliance officer for both legal practice and finance & administration.
In mitigation, they said that a third partner had effective control of the firm – they did not see any management accounts and did not deal with the bank.
Mr Pass said he believed himself to be an employee and felt he had no option other than to take on the compliance roles when the third partner asked him, but he acknowledged that he should only have taken them on if he was in a position to discharge them properly.
Mr Pass accepted a fine of £2,000 and Mr Mawbey Shaw a reprimand. Each also agreed to pay £5,000 in costs.