Solicitor struck off after 40-year career – for the sake of £100


SDT: Solicitor could not explain his thoughts at the time of the misconduct

An experienced conveyancer has been struck off for falsifying the completion date of a transaction in a report to tax authorities in order to avoid a late registration penalty of £100.

John Martyn Lewis, who qualified in 1978, held his hands up to the misconduct, claiming the dishonesty was an “isolated aberration” in an otherwise distinguished career.

Mr Lewis, a solicitor at three-office North Wales and Cheshire firm Allington Hughes, amended a filing made to the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA) to make the completion date of the transaction less than 30 days earlier.

This avoided making his client – and therefore his firm – liable for a late registration penalty. Returns made more than one day but less than six months late carry a penalty of £100.

The TR1 should have been submitted by 13 January 2019. On 15 January, the solicitor’s secretary had accurately sent in the correct date of completion, namely 14 December 2018.

However, on the same day Mr Lewis contacted the WRA to amend the submission to 18 December, and then instructed his secretary to confirm it.

When confronted by his firm’s compliance officer, Mr Lewis admitted he had “deliberately misled” the authority in an attempt to avoid a penalty charge.

Agreeing an outcome with the Solicitors Regulation Authority – meaning there was no hearing in person – Mr Lewis said he could not explain his thoughts at the time, and accepted there were no extraordinary circumstances.

Approving the strike-off, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal said the sanction was “appropriate and proportionate”.

It said the solicitor had “knowingly and consciously amended the date so as to avoid any penalty” in breach of his professional duties. “Public confidence in the reputation of the profession demanded no lesser punishment”.

Mr Lewis was also ordered to pay costs of £3,000.




    Readers Comments

  • Jill Evans says:

    This is an outrage – Mr Lewis is one of the nicest people on earth, he is everything a solicitor should be , I would put ALL my trust in him, he always has the clients and profession at heart . Stuck off for the sake of £100 , it’s disgusting, there is no justice in the justice service . A great loss from the professional, such a waste.

  • Peter says:

    The Compliance officer needs a reality check.

  • Mark Graham says:

    Very interesting.

  • John says:

    Sorry to hear Mr Lewis has lost his post due to such a small mistake after a faultless 40 year career. We have always found him very helpful and professional


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