A solicitor who made misleading statements to his law firm and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) about convictions for drink-driving and driving while disqualified has been struck off.
Nicholas James Bohun did not tell his law firm about either and it found out only after carrying out a criminal record check. But the solicitor told the SRA he had been “totally upfront” with the firm.
Mr Bohun, who qualified in 2010, was working as a paralegal at an unnamed law firm in South Wales when he was first convicted of drink-driving in September 2020.
The tribunal said the level of alcohol in his blood was so high that it made him a “high-risk offender”, meaning that he would be “unable to obtain a new licence until he could prove he was fit to drive by passing a medical examination with one of DVLA’s appointed doctors”.
The “severity of his offence” meant that he received a suspended prison sentence as well as being disqualified from driving for 24 months.
South Wales Police informed the SRA, which contacted the solicitor; he said he was not aware that he had to report the conviction.
He was convicted in late September 2020, and 17 days later was stopped driving his car to work. He was arrested and charged with driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance.
Having lost his job, Mr Bohun was convicted in November 2020, activating the suspended sentence and resulting in him being jailed for eight weeks.
After his release the following month with an electronic tag, he was placed on probation until December 2021.
Mr Bohun found work as a solicitor on 8 March 2021 at Rubin Lewis O’Brien in Cwmbran; his contract required him to have a car.
A few days before he started, he told the firm that he had re-applied for his driver’s licence but the DVLA was “taking ages”.
In doing so, the SDT said, Mr Bohun had “deliberately sought to mislead the firm into believing that he was entitled to drive”.
The SRA was again told by the police. On 22 March, the solicitor emailed the SRA, stating: “I was totally upfront about my conviction, and they have done a full DBS [Disclosure and Barring Service] check.”
The following day, Mr Bohun emailed the SRA again, stating: “My employer knows, I have no issue with you contacting them.” This was probably an attempt to discourage the SRA from contacting the firm.
The SDT found that, not only had he sent misleading emails, but he had acted dishonestly.
“Mr Bohun was motivated by his desire to conceal his criminal convictions and retain his employment.”
He was also found to have failed to inform the SRA about his driving convictions.
The solicitor said he had not reported the second conviction because he was “depressed following the death of a close family member and was finding things extremely difficult”. However, the SDT said he had provided no medical evidence.
He was struck off and ordered to pay costs of just under £6,173.