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Solicitor rebuked after drink-driving conviction

SRA: Conveyancing clerk banned

A partner at national firm TLT has accepted a rebuke from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) after he was convicted of drink driving.

Paul Stuart Crighton, a banking partner in TLT’s Manchester office, was banned from driving for two years last September and fined £2,235.

According to a report of his trial in the Manchester Evening News, Mr Crighton was spotted driving home “erratically” after a “long boozy lunch with a client”.

It said he blew 113 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – just seven microgrammes short of a possible jail term. The legal limit is 35.

Mr Crighton told the court said he deliberately stopped drinking at 4pm, about four hours and 40 minutes before he was breath-tested.

In interview, he “admitted he had had a few pints and decided to drive home”. A probation officer reported that the solicitor said he deeply regretted what he had done, had shown remorse and was embarrassed and ashamed.

The SRA said Mr Crighton admitted that he had failed to behave in a way which maintained the trust the public places in him and in the provision of legal services.

Meanwhile, a conveyancing clerk currently serving time in prison for his role in serious mortgage frauds has been banned from working again for solicitors without permission from the regulator.

Christopher Jones used to work at Leeds firm Velocity Legal, which was shut down by the SRA in 2012, and was sentenced last September to 27 months in jail for submitting and processing the mortgage applications.

According to the Hull Daily Mail, His Honour Judge Tremberg told Mr Jones: “The prosecution put the matter accurately in their closing address to the jury when the Crown submitted that, complacent and flushed with the success of the earlier frauds, your offending became increasingly brazen so that there was nothing legitimate about these transactions.

“The Crown characterised them as ‘totally bent’. It’s difficult to disagree with that.”

He was one of five people sentenced following a lengthy investigation and trial into serious mortgage frauds.